Pritzker Delivers Budget, State of State Address


Published on February 2 2022 4:28 pm
Last Updated on February 3 2022 2:08 pm
Written by Greg Sapp


During Wednesday's budget address, Governor J.B. Pritzker promoted hundreds of millions of dollars in tax relief.

Pritzker said a $1.7 billion state surplus should be used in part to ease the tax burden on citizens.

Pritzker said he wants a one-year elimination of the state's grocery tax and a freeze of gas tax in the coming year.

A final proposal is a doubling of the property tax deduction bringing lower tax bills for two million homeowners.

What Pritzker terms a Family Relief Plan calls for $475 million in property tax rebates for families, with a one-time property tax rebate payment to homeowners of 5% of property taxes paid, up to $300 for those eligible for a state income tax credit. The tax freeze on groceries is estimated to mean $360 million to consumers, and freezing the planned increase in the gas tax is to mean another $135 million for taxpayers.

The governor called for a $350 million increase for Evidence Based Funding for K-12 schools, a $96 million increase for transportation and special education, a $54 million increase in Early Childhood Education, increases MAP funding for $600 million, includes $300 million to strengthen and grow childcare grants, and pays off the $230 million unfunded liability for College Illinois.

The proposal also waives licensing fees for nearly 470,000 frontline healthcare workers, $180 million to preserve and expand the healthcare workforce, $140 million to mental health care providers, $70 million to 988 call centers and crisis response services for mental health issues, and $25 million to expand the pipeline of nurses through the Illinois Community College Board.

There are also incentives for small business, and for public safety and violence prevention.

Criticism of the proposal has been heard from State Senator Jason Plummer:


“Just like the movie Groundhog Day, this budget address feels like the same thing we’ve heard every year. The Governor is ratcheting up state spending while somehow claiming to be cutting spending, refusing to address or even acknowledge mismanagement in his administration, and doing nothing to actually stem the tide of violent crime.”

“The families of Illinois deserve real and permanent tax relief, not the one-time, election-year gimmick proposed by the Governor. We need to address our state’s structural fiscal issues, but instead he’s giving us another budget propped up by federal money that will collapse when the ‘Biden Bucks’ come to an end. Most of all, we need a government that fulfills its first responsibility, to protect its citizens, a job that this administration has repeatedly failed at.”

Local State Representative Adam Niemerg was also critical of the governor's proposals:


“This Governor continues to show he cannot be trusted to show real leadership and make the tough decisions about how he spends public money. His so-called tax relief is a political joke. If he were a real leader trying to solve the state’s long-term financial problems, Gov. Pritzker would replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund of the $4.5 billion loan still owed to the federal government, so that would save taxpayers and businesses an estimated $100 million in interest payments.”

State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey had these thoughts on the governor's proposal:

“I think it is very obvious that Pritzker and the Democrat Party and the political elites have abandoned the working families of Illinois. It is interesting because now I think he is having a tough time with his reelection, so he is offering an empty box of chocolates right before Valentine's Day and he is calling it tax relief. Well maybe for a trust fund billionaire like JB, temporarily not raising taxes, sounds like tax relief but for the working families across Illinois who are struggling to pay bills, keeping gas in their cars, deciding not to take an extra couple of pennies from them, I think is a slap in the face. We need serious reforms in Springfield that aren’t reliant on federal bailouts and that actually benefit working families and taxpayers long-term, not temporary shams during election years.”  

State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) issued the following statement in response:

It is fitting that the Governor delivered his budget address on Feb 2, Groundhog Day. Two weeks to “flatten the curve” have rolled into 23 months of unilateral emergency orders that haven’t done a thing to stop the spread. In fact, Illinois has more deaths from COVID than almost any other state. Now he’s talking about vaccinating your babies with a drug that doesn’t prevent them from getting the virus.

Fiscally, Governor Pritzker’s dog and pony show was an attempt to cover up the fact that families and businesses are fleeing the state at a record pace.

Rather than addressing the state’s need for structural reforms that would create security and relief for Illlinoisans, the governor rolled out a series of budget gimmicks including temporary tax cuts and property tax rebates. Must be an election year. Rather than trying to distract the people of this state, leaders need to level with them. We have taken no serious steps to address the major drivers of the state’s fiscal crisis - which include the pension system and Medicaid. Until we do that, Pritzker’s gimmicks will only delay the inevitable.

Our economy has lost $31.4 billion due to population loss. He offered no plan to address that deficit.

Over 250,000 jobs in Illinois were lost to Covid lockdowns, shut downs, mandates and regulations. He offered no plan to bring those jobs back to the state.

Illinois’ credit rating is the lowest in the nation. And yet, to hear Governor Pritzker talk about it today, you would think the state is well-positioned. That just isn’t true. Our credit rating was upgraded due to an influx of  federal Covid relief money, not anything that Governor Pritzker did. 

Violent crime has skyrocketed in Chicago and across Illinois. Illinoisans are not safer today than they were 4 years ago. And they can feel it.

Illinoisans are tired of the lies. They need leaders who understand the lives they are trying to build for themselves and their families, not a tyrant who asks you to believe him and not your “lyin’ eyes.” Enough is enough.