Pritzker ad fact check: Illinois only paid bills on time because of federal aid

Pritzker ad fact check: Illinois only paid bills on time because of federal aid

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s newest campaign ad credits him for paying the state’s bills on time. The commercial fails to mention the influx of federal stimulus for the COVID-19 pandemic that kept Illinois’ finances afloat.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is campaigning for reelection with an interesting theme: fiscal responsibility. The governor claims he turned state finances around and has paid bills on time. Here’s the catch: He never did these things until Illinois received billions of dollars in federal aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of deceptive ads, Pritzker is proposing $1 billion in temporary tax cuts ahead of the November election. This is quite an about-face, given Pritzker has imposed $5.4 billion in permanent tax and fee hikes since he took office.

Under Pritzker’s leadership the state has yet to make any of the significant financial reforms needed to eliminate the structural deficit and reduce Illinois’ economically burdensome taxes.

Spending in the state budget actually has increased – significantly – under Pritzker relative to baseline expectations in the state budget. If lawmakers accept Pritzker’s proposal, then total spending during Pritzker’s first term will be up nearly $8.5 billion, or 5% higher than the growth expected when he took office.

Without major reforms, the state’s bill backlog and tax burdens will begin to grow again when federal aid runs out.

And speaking of balanced budgets and improved finances, even Pritzker’s most recent budget proposal doesn’t balance, in spite of $14 billion worth of federal aid.

Pritzker claimed his budget proposal would achieve an unprecedented $1.7 billion surplus this year. Documents released by his budget office show Illinois would end the year with a $1.5 billion deficit.

Illinois Forward 2023, a five-year plan developed by Illinois Policy Institute experts, puts state finances on the right path without asking more from taxpayers. It would eliminate the state’s backlog of unpaid bills and save taxpayers nearly $3.6 billion in one year.

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