We will need to make extraordinarily difficult decisions: Illinois governor on financial impact of COVID-19

Local News
J.B. Pritzker

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker responds to a question after announcing that three more people have died in the state from from Covid-19 virus, two Illinois residents and one woman visiting from Florida, during a news conference Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Gov. Pritzker on Wednesday addressed the financial hit Illinois is taking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Revenue is projecting a seven percent decline in state revenue, $2.7 billion, for the fiscal year 2020 and $4.6 billion for the FY 2021.

“We will need to make extraordinarily difficult decisions on top of the difficult decisions that we have already made,” Pritzker said during the daily briefing.

“but together with the state legislature we will make them and we will do so with an unswerving dedication to fairness,” he added.

The governor expressed gratitude to the congressional leaders from both parties for supporting the first CARES Act which will provide $2.7 billion to Illinois and will be used to cover state government expenditures in response to the pandemic.

Gov. Prizker also added that the funding cannot be used to make up for state government revenue shortfalls and asked the federal government to pass CARES Act 2, another stimulus bill, to support state governments.

In a press release, the Pritzker administration said that it is taking the following steps to improve the state’s immediate fiscal health:

  • Earlier this month, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget directed agencies to take all possible steps to manage existing resources for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 by putting on hold all non-essential purchases and operational expenditures, freezing all travel that is not mission essential, and limiting all non-essential hiring. These actions are expected to save at least $25 million for the general funds in fiscal year 2020. This is in addition to earlier efforts to identify efficiencies for the fiscal year 2021 budget, slated to save the state $750 million over the next three years.
  • The Comptroller and Treasurer have extended $400 million in investment borrowing agreements that were due to be repaid from the General Revenue Fund in March and April to July 2020. In coordination with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Comptroller has utilized interfund borrowing authority to transfer an additional $323 million in March and April to the general funds.
  • Additionally, the Governor, Comptroller and Treasurer will be moving forward with the issuance of up to $1.2 billion in short-term borrowing in May under Article 9, Section 9(d) of the Constitution and Section 1.1 of the Short-Term Borrowing Act (30 ILCS 340) for situations where revenue forecasts do not meet projections. About $1 billion of the decline in revenue for fiscal year 2020 is attributable to the extension of the April 15 deadline for filing 2019 income tax returns to July 15.  This action will cover funds lost due to that extension.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.