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Pritzker says state has reached a "critical juncture"

On Tuesday, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker ordered state agencies to identify areas of their 2020 budgets that can be cut by 5% as well as 10% cuts that can be made in their spending plans for the next fiscal year should Congress fail to provide additional COVID-19 relief funds.

"Any cut to the Illinois state budget is a win for taxpayers," said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). "However, a broad cut to the state budget is not enough."

Tobin says the state of Illinois’s financial woes are due to the vast amount it spends on lavish, overpromised retired government employee pensions.

"This is why Pritzker is really cutting the budget, he wants to divert pay from current Illinois government employees to retired Illinois government employees," Tobin said in a release this morning. "Every year former Illinois government employees eat up even more of the state’s budget.

In fact, the primary motivation for a $5 billion state income tax hike that passed a few years ago was to transfer wealth from taxpayers to the black hole that is the Illinois pension funds."

Pritzker calls the current state's budget woes a "nightmare scenario".

We've reached a critical juncture for our own state finances in this COVID induced financial crisis," he said during his press conference in Chicago.

In June, Pritzker signed off on $43 billion dollar budget that began July 1 relied heavily on federal aid and borrowing to fill revenue shortfalls due to the COVID-19-induced economic slowdown.

A memo from Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes and budget director Alexis Sturm to agency directors stated the state's current budget "is only affordable in its current form with federal support to bridge the pandemic-related shortfalls and that now appears not to be forthcoming."

Illinois stands to lose out on $6.5 billion in revenue this year and next year. Agency heads were given until Oct. 2 to outline their reductions for the current year.  This includes taking necessary measures from hiring freezes to renegotiating on any planned spending commitments.

Tobin points out that governor's Illinois progressive income tax is purely a move to raise taxes.

"Pritzker’s income tax increase amendment, better described as an income theft amendment, is not what Illinois needs," he wrote. "Illinois taxpayers should vote no on November 3rd to the proposed amendment change, and demand Pritzker to cut spending further."

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