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Illinois House expected to return to pass largest state spending plan in history


(The Center Square) – The Illinois House is expected to return Tuesday to finish up the plan on how the state will spend more than $53 billion in Illinois taxpayer money.

The legislature was scheduled to adjourn Friday before the holiday weekend, but budget details failed to surface until it was too late and session was extended into contingency days.

Sending representatives home late Saturday, House Speaker Chris Welch said the plan was coming together and they’d return after the Memorial Day holiday. The Senate stayed and late Sunday they passed the plan.

State Sen. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, said the budget is balanced and fair.

“Education, investing in educating our children, protecting our most vulnerable, keeping our communities safe while investing and modernizing our infrastructure,” Sims said.

State Sen. Sally Turner said Gov. J.B. Pritzker is keeping his promise.

“He’s keeping his promise to raise taxes on Illinois citizens by a billion dollars a year to fund the migrant crisis that he’s created,” Turner said.

The total amount budgeted for non-citizen migrants in the budget is $971 million.

The package includes a more than $53 billion spending plan and a tax increase bill worth more than $1 billion. There is also a measure carried by state Sen. Cristina Castro to zero out the state’s 1% grocery tax.

“And allows municipalities to impose a 1% sales tax on these items by ordinance or resolution,” Castro said.

The measure also removes the requirement that some local governments must receive referendum approval in order to impose a local sales tax and allows larger municipalities to increase the 911 surcharge, among other tax changes.

State Sen. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, said the measure is dishonest.

“And only in Springfield are we going to do a victory lap that really just reassigns the blame and responsibility to local municipalities and call it a tax cut,” Chesney said.

Others criticized the measure for giving more tax increase authority to local governments.

The House has until May 31 to pass the plan with simple majorities. They’re expected to return to the capitol Tuesday.

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