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Democrat Illinois governor proposes $53B budget including funding for migrants

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday proposed a $52.7 billion state spending plan that includes more money to address the immigration crisis, education and quantum computing, while also including a major sports betting tax hike. , proposes tax increases primarily targeted at corporations.

The second-term Democratic Party characterized the proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 as “focused and disciplined,” with a roughly 2% increase in spending.

“I wish we had a big surplus this year to address each of the very real challenges we face,” Pritzker told lawmakers during his budget and annual State of the State address. told. “While this year’s budget is tough, it is important to remember that our finances are in place and we are able to keep our promises to the people of Illinois.”

Chicagoans speak out against immigrants their city welcomes: ‘They’re ruining our country’

Funding for asylum seekers is expected to be one of the most contentious issues as Democratic-controlled House and Senate members begin budget negotiations. House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch has already convened a committee on new arrivals, and Republicans have vowed to target sanctuary laws. Illinois has already invested $638 million to address the crisis.

The proposed budget includes an additional $182 million for immigration as part of a joint funding plan with Cook County. The money will be used for “welcome center” services such as housing arrangements and legal assistance, as well as programs to combat homelessness.

The city of Chicago, which has allocated about $150 million in the city’s budget, will begin accepting about 36,000 asylum seekers who arrived by bus or plane starting in 2022, primarily under the direction of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. They are struggling to house and care for them. Migrants are still arriving, but the pace has slowed in recent weeks, in part due to weather, coinciding with a drop at the border.

Mr. Abbott said the federal government should be strengthened, while Mr. Pritzker repeatedly accused Republican governors of creating a brutal crisis for families. Pritzker doubled down on his criticism during his speech, which comes as immigration has moved to the forefront of presidential-year politics and Chicago is set to host the Democratic National Convention in August. It’s about.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker arrives to deliver the State of the State and Budget address before the General Assembly at the Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 in Springfield, Illinois. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune, via AP)

“Mr. Abbott deliberately planned for these people to arrive at a location and at a time that would cause the greatest disruption to the city of Chicago and the asylum seekers themselves,” Pritzker said. “Children, pregnant women, and the elderly were sent here in the middle of the night, far from their designated welcome centers, in subzero temperatures, wearing flip-flops and T-shirts. Then Texas politicians. I want to give you a lecture on being a good Christian. ”

Mr. Pritzker’s budget office had projected a shortfall of nearly $900 million late last year, but on Wednesday the agency announced the deficit was smaller than expected and outlined new revenue to make up the difference. did.

This includes more than doubling the sports betting tax paid by casino sportsbooks from 15% to 35%, generating an estimated $200 million. Pritzker also wants to cap deductions that would allow companies to reduce their taxable income for a savings of $526 million.

The governor’s proposed budget also includes $500 million for quantum computing technology, including cryogenic facilities.

Pritzker called education the “central tenet” of all six budgets he proposed, adding $100 million to the statewide effort announced last year to establish universal preschool in Illinois by 2027. He proposed an additional $50 million. Spending for K-12 education would also increase by about $450. This includes funding for transportation costs, special education grants, state literacy programs, teacher vacancy pilot programs, and more.

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Mr. Pritzker also previewed a plan to address Illinois’ massive pension debt by raising its funding goal from 90% to 100% and extending payment deadlines until 2048. For consumers, he proposed permanently abolishing the suspended 1% sales tax on groceries. One year in 2022.

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