ACMHAI Legislative Report – February 2022

Government Strategy Associates

 General Assembly Continues Frenetic Pace

With the scheduled adjournment of April 8th, the House and Senate have cruised through their committee deadlines and are approaching the deadlines for bills out of the first chamber. Many bills passed committee with an agreement that work will need to continue and now each chamber has passed bills agreeing to work on it in the other chamber. One House Republican even had buttons made that state “We’ll fix it in the Senate.”

House Bill 4228 introduced by Rep. Hoffman passed committee and is on the consent calendar in the House.  Senate Bill 3215 introduced by Senator Bennett passed the Senate and is now in the House of Representatives. Both bills are moving and we will work with sponsors to identify which bill has the best opportunity for passage.

State of the State Address

This past month, Governor Pritzker gave the annual state of the state address. The Governor outlined what will likely be many of the themes to be utilized during his reelection campaign which happens this year. He highlighted COVID mitigation efforts, tax relief, state surplus, balanced budget plan, COVID-19 success.  The governor also announced he will appoint a chief behavioral health officer who will help coordinate services with the governor’s office.

While discussing the state’s response to the pandemic, the Governor discussed many of the targeted public health actions. This included administration of more than 20 million vaccinations, 2 million of them at state-run mass vaccination sites and 5,500 mobile clinics. Re-implemented masking requirements ahead of a late 2021 surge and leading the Midwest with 34 million PCR tests administered since the pandemic began. Illinois vaccinated nearly 90 percent of Illinois seniors, with nearly three in four having received a booster. With COVID declining the Governor lifted the mask mandate officially ending mandatory masking in most indoor settings in the state.

Governor Presents Budget Proposal

Governor Pritzker also presented his annual budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. He stated this is a balanced budget plan including a state surplus as well as tax relief.  He proposes paying an additional half a billion dollars above the minimum for the state’s pension payment obligations, hoping to save taxpayers $1.8 billion and reduce the pension debt.

The updated FY 22 estimates include a $1.6 billion increase in personal income tax from initial expected levels, a $1.2 billion increase in corporate income tax, and a $926 million increase in sales tax revenue.

Governor Pritzker outlined his address with $45.345 billion proposed fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget.  This budget that builds off a projected $1.7 billion surplus from FY 2022. Under this plan the state will contribute $500 million above the minimum required contribution to its pension systems reducing long-term liabilities by $1.8 billion

Department of Human Services highlights include:

  • $62.8M for implementation of CILA rate calculator effective Jan. 1, 2023.
  • $32M for direct service providers’ wage increase of $1 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2023.
  • $96.4M to the Home Services Program.
  • $250M for two-year funding of the RPSA to address firearm violence.
  • $70M for 9-8-8 call centers and crisis response services.

Pritzker also announced the Illinois Family Relief Plan, which will provide $1 billion in tax relief to Illinois families impacted most by the pandemic and recent inflation. It would freeze the state’s 1% grocery tax; suspend the scheduled 2 cents per gallon gas tax hike; double the state property tax rebate maximum, to $300 per homeowner; and waive license fees for frontline healthcare workers. Tax cuts from the Illinois Family Relief Plan are scheduled to last for only one year.

Following the budget address, Democrats strongly praised the governor’s FY 2023 proposal. Comptroller Susana Mendoza predicted that Illinois would receive a third consecutive credit rating upgrade under Pritzker if the proposed budget is passed. Not everyone was heaping praise on the Governor’s budget proposal. Republicans argue the one-year-only tax cuts do not address long-term financial problems, and serve only as a gimmick to boost the governor’s reelection campaign. House GOP Leader Jim Durkin said, “The governor’s budget address is always a wish-list, and this year it’s clear that the governor wishes to be reelected.”

The General Assembly has been holding appropriation hearings and hope to pass a budget by their self-proclaimed deadline of April 8th.

Embattled State Senator Steps Down

Illinois State Sen. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park resigned and is expected to plead guilty to federal embezzlement charges. He was indicted in 2019 by federal prosecutors who say Cullerton accepted payments on a “ghost payroll” through a union while he was serving in the Senate. Senate President Harmon said the party is working to name a replacement for Senator Cullerton.

Upcoming Dates

April 1. 2022 Deadline for House Bills out of the Senate

April 1, 2022 Deadline for Senate Bills out of the House