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Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday afternoon the state is projected to face revenue shortfalls because of COVID-19.
The Department of Revenue, Pritzker said, estimates Illinois will be $2.7 billion short for fiscal 2020 and $4.6 billion for fiscal 2021.
“Folks, you don’t have to be an epidemiologist to see that the virus is going to hit our budget hard,” Pritzker said.
One billion of the $2.7 billion decline, he said, is because of the three month extension of the April 15 deadline for filing 2019 income tax returns, which will be received in fiscal 2021.
Pritzker explained state budgets across the U.S. rely on taxes on income, sales and other sources, such as lotteries and gaming for a substantial portion of their state budgets.
“In every state, the coronavirus pandemic has substantially disrupted those revenue sources,” he said. “And regardless of how fast or slow a state's leadership moved to implement social distancing measures, even those few states still operating without a stay at home order, are facing massive fiscal hardship. This is a public health crisis, but it is accompanied by massive economic disruption that's unprecedented in modern history.”
Pritzker further announced the state has already begun taking steps to reduce expenditures, asking agency directors to enact spending reductions and deficiencies to close the fiscal 2020 gap.
“I'll remind you that earlier this year, we asked those directors to identify deficiencies when we prepared for the fiscal 2021 budget and secured a savings plan of nearly a billion dollars over three years, much of which our agencies were already moving toward ahead of schedule," he said.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Pritzker said he is working to leverage more than $700 million in other state funds to support state government operations, and issue $1.2 billion in short term borrowing “as constitutionally permitted in unexpected situations like this one.”
In the last year-and-a-half, Pritzker said, the state made “tremendous fiscal progress,” but "this crisis, however, will take us off course for a little while, and we must put ourselves back on track as soon as we can.”
After short-term borrowing in fiscal 2020 and the projected $4.6 billion revenue shortfall in fiscal 2021, the total budgetary gap for fiscal 2021 is $6.2 billion.
He said that in November, if the constitutional amendment to move from a flat tax to a graduated tech system doesn't pass, that budgetary gap will expand to $7.4 billion
“Illinoisans are all too familiar with the pain the lack of a state budget can cause. So let me just say up front, we will not go without a state budget,” he said.
In addition to the support for the first CARES Act, which provides up to $2.7 billion to cover state government expenditures in response to the pandemic, Pritzker urged congress to pass another CARES Act to support state governments to recover from the financial impacts.
"This is about ensuring that in the wake of this pandemic, the nation isn't facing down a second storm, standing in the way of funding for schools and health care, clean water and clean air, greater public safety, more job creating small businesses, improved care for our most vulnerable children and seniors. This is about the continuity of the essential services that give people a real chance,” he said.
The Illinois Department of Health announced 1,346 new cases in the last 24 hours with 80 additional deaths. There have been 24,593 confirmed cases in Illinois and 948 total deaths as of Wednesday.
Offering a “glimmer of hope” IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said measures to reduce the spread, including, hand washing, wearing masks, covering coughs, banning mass gatherings, staying at home, and social distancing have been effective.
“Analysis shows that implementing community mitigation strategies or non pharmaceutical interventions and PIs during this pandemic can and will and has slowed the spread of infection,” Ezike said.
The state continues to see a slow rate of increase in cases, she said.
There have been 116,929 tests performed in the state.
New deaths announced by the IDPH include:
- Cook County: 1 female teens, 1 male 30s, 2 males 50s, 11 females 60s, 5 males 60s, 5 females 70s, 11 males 70s, 5 females 80s, 4 males 80s, 1 female 90s, 5 males 90s, 1 female 100+, 1 male 100+
- DuPage County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 male 90s
- Jackson County: 1 male 80s
- Lake County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 100+
- Macon County: 1 female 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s
- McHenry County: 3 males 70s
- Monroe County: 1 female 90s
- Ogle County: 1 female 80s
- Rock Island County: 1 male 50s
- St. Clair County: 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
- Whiteside County: 1 male 70s
- Will County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s