After Gov. JB Pritzker gave his state of the state address Wednesday, it is becoming more clear how the state plans to dig itself out of a massive budget hole caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the governor is not going to hike personal income taxes, he is going after businesses.
- We're getting a better idea of how the state plans to dig itself out of a massive budget hole caused by the pandemic. While the governor isn't going to hike your income taxes, he is going after businesses. CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov is live. Business owners have been telling us they're already hurting.
DANA KOZLOV: Yeah, Erica, overall the business community is really lashing out this afternoon. Business owners and leaders saying while most families may not feel a pinch if this proposal passes, they will.
JB PRITZKER: I started with the premise that hardworking families should not have to pay more when they're stretched the most thin.
DANA KOZLOV: Call that the foundation for Governor JB Pritzker's 2022 budget proposal. He built from there.
JB PRITZKER: I want middle class Illinoisans to pay lower income taxes, not higher. So this budget does not propose an across the board tax increase.
DANA KOZLOV: Without that, Pritzker says, he's found a way to balance next year's budget despite the hit taken by COVID-19 and despite dire warnings last fall that a major tax hike would be necessary if his graduated income tax proposal failed to pass, which it did.
JB PRITZKER: It reflects $400 million in additional cuts to appropriations, a hiring freeze, flat operational spending, full required pension payments, and the closure of unaffordable corporate loopholes.
DANA KOZLOV: All, he says, for a savings of $1.8 billion over the last budget year, except most of that, $932 million, will come from those so-called corporate tax loopholes, which include capping certain corporate deductions and eliminating some exemptions, moves many business leaders say will further cripple the already struggling business community. And while most state department budgets will remain flat--
- If you have other questions--
DANA KOZLOV: --he wants to give the struggling Illinois Department of Employment Security, which handles unemployment benefits, another $60 million now and another $73 million next year.
JB PRITZKER: It builds upon work we have already done this year and will support new call center positions throughout the state, help run the newly-created federal unemployment programs, and upgrade the technology to more efficiently get this critical work done.
DANA KOZLOV: That almost a year after we first began reporting on the chronic problems plaguing the state's unemployment agency. Of course, ultimately, it is up to state lawmakers to discuss, debate, and pass a budget, which will take place over the next several months. Live in the streetside studio, Dana Kozlov, CBS 2 News.