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Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed a $41.6 billion state budget Wednesday that takes on Republicans for leading the opposition to his graduated-rate income tax plan by recommending cuts to nearly $1 billion in business tax breaks to help balance state spending amid the ongoing pandemic.

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I have always believed that our economic recovery both as a nation and as a state goes hand in hand with our recovery from the virus. I certainly had no expectation when I became governor that we would spend all of this time battling an invisible enemy together,” Pritzker.

Pritzker’s plans to shift dedicated tax revenues and close or reduce what he called business tax “loopholes” amount to nearly $1.5 billion in new revenue — roughly the equivalent of the $1.4 billion in new tax dollars he had hoped to achieve for the first half of this year through shifting the state from a flat-rate income tax to a graduated rate tax. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the change Nov. 3.

The first-term Democratic governor has sought to put the onus on Republicans — a super-m inority in the legislature — and their allies for the defeat of his tax proposal. He has challenged Republicans to offer up budget cuts, but GOP leaders have not responded in an effort to make Pritzker own the budget and the state’s significant fiscal problems.


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In a normal year, I might have more patience for their hypocrisy. But this is not a normal year,” he said. Of Republicans refusing to offer up proposed budget cuts, Pritzker said, “Apparently their idea of bipartisanship ends when hard choices must be made.

Pritzker is also counting on the new Democratically controlled White House and Congress to deliver billions of dollars in state and local assistance to Illinois despite Republican resistance. The governor did not build federal funding into his budget plan but assailed Republicans for opposing unfettered federal aid to Illinois.

Pritzker announced in December that he would act unilaterally to make $700 million in cuts, largely low-hanging fruit, through freezing hiring and grants, though some of the proposed savings require negotiations with state employee unions.

The governor’s speech comes as the shape of the 2022 race for governor has started to emerge. Earlier this week, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination and state Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia is expected to announce next week. Several other Republicans also are exploring a run, including suburban businessman Gary Rabine.




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