Delivered via email: February 2, 2022
Pritzker Delivers Sunny Budget Address Despite Snow
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered his annual budget address on February 2 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield. While the speech was initially planned to take place in the Illinois House chamber, a winter storm, with the potential to drop a foot of snow over a substantial portion of the State of Illinois, changed those plans and led to a venue change.
The new venue was not the only atypical thing about the 2023 Fiscal Year budget address. According to the numbers provided by the governor, Illinois’ revenue picture is much brighter than it has been in years past. The increased revenue, due to a previous revenue enhancement, a boost from federal stimulus funding, and a commitment to paying down debt, allowed the governor to present a budget that would invest in Illinois programs and potentially save property taxpayers through a potential rebate. By law, the Illinois Governor is required to present a balanced budget to the Illinois General Assembly.
Evidence-Based Funding Proposed to Increase by $350 Million
Of course, education funding was an important topic highlighted in the budget address. The governor proposed an additional $350 million to the Evidence-Based Funding model to meet the required investment to keep moving Illinois towards education funding equity. In December 2021, the Illinois State Board of Education made a recommendation to increase education funding by $475 million. While the governor’s proposal falls short of that mark, it is still a significant investment. As always, the General Assembly has the ultimate responsibility for crafting a budget. Over the past several years, investment in the Evidence-Based Funding model has been a priority for the House and the Senate.
Pensions and Property Tax Addressed in FY23 Budget
Over the years, Illinois governors have wrestled with addressing Illinois pensions’ unfunded liability. Some have suggested changes to the pension repayment plan, while others have not made pension payments to spend money on other state services. Most governors have made the minimum payment. In the FY23 budget, Governor Pritzker reversed those trends by proposing to invest an additional $500 million over the required $9.6 billion payment. According to the administration, the $500 million investment will eventually save over $1.8 billion.
The governor also addressed property taxes by suggesting doubling the state income tax credit for property taxes. The current tax credit is 5%. While property taxes remain a concern across the State of Illinois, an income tax credit instead of a property tax freeze should be a welcome sign to school districts.