Despite warnings that the state’s spending plan is likely unbalanced and sets Illinois up for an unstable future, the Gov. JB Pritzker proceeded to sign the over $50 billion budget this week—the largest in state history.
While the Governor claimed to prioritize fiscal responsibility, Senate Republicans continue to question hidden spending throughout the budget, including hundreds of millions of dollars the state will likely be on the hook for under its free healthcare program for undocumented immigrants, which is the only of its kind in the nation.
Senate Republicans also remain wary about how this plan will be sustainable in the years to come. With spending rapidly increasing year after year—$11 billion since Gov. Pritzker took office, it’s unlikely the state will be able to sustain this trend without leaving taxpayers vulnerable and at a time of economic instability.
Additionally, there are at least two items in the budget that don’t kick in until halfway through the fiscal year (Jan. 1, 2024) but will require a full-year’s appropriation in the fiscal years to follow. These important initiatives include Medicaid rate increases for healthcare providers and wage increases for providers for the developmentally disabled. These costs will have to be doubled in the next fiscal year budget and thereafter; however, the Governor’s signed FY24 budget does not provide for that consideration.
State Senator Sue Rezin says this budget is far from responsible. The Majority Party and the Governor had an opportunity to present a plan that is not only balanced and fiscally mindful, but also better considers the state’s most vulnerable citizens.