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Pritzker hopes for federal money for Illinois after Democrats regain full control in D.C.

By Cole Lauterbach | The Center Square

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was all smiles about Georgia’s U.S. Senate election results Wednesday, saying he’s optimistic that the federal government will come through with more state aid now that Republicans can’t block it.

At a news conference in Chicago, Pritzker was asked about how soon he thinks the state’s multi-billion dollar budget deficit would be closed now that it’s more likely that Illinois and other states would see federal revenue passed down.

“I’m thrilled about the fact that the Senate changed hands,” he said. “As far as how that will affect the state of Illinois, I think there are two things that we can all immediately point to. One is that I think we will begin to see serious consideration of state and local funding, finally, because Mitch McConnell won’t be able to block it and there are Republican senators whose states need state and local funding and they were working on that behind the scenes but Mitch McConnell would not bring that to a vote.”

Although election results have yet to certified, both Democratic candidates running for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats had declared victory Wednesday morning.

He went on to say he expects Democrats to remove the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions at the federal level, known as the SALT tax.

Pritzker announced $700 million in cuts that included furloughs and other spending reductions that would affect Illinois’ public sector workers but said Wednesday that there’s “nothing to announce yet.”

Illinois is one of the only states that’s yet to implement spending reductions of any substance since the pandemic began, though Pritzker says savings are happening behind the scenes within his agencies.

The premise of a federal bailout of Illinois’ budget deficit has elicited stern rebukes since the pandemic began, including some from Illinois politicians.

The incoming Legislature is facing a $4 billion budget hole, some of which predates the COVID-19 pandemic and a sizeable backlog of bills for services rendered. Lawmakers wrote Illinois’ congressional delegation in April asking for $40 billion in aid to help them out of not only their budget deficit but also their decades-long public pension liabilities.

Cole Lauterbach is a Staff Reporter with The Center Square.


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