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Budget report indicates added pressures to offset revenue gains

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(The Center Square) – Nearly six months into the fiscal year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office says there is approximately $1 billion in budget pressures that will offset revenue gains.

In a recent Economic and Fiscal Policy report, the governor’s office said the pressures include potential spending related to asylum seekers. Illinois has spent more than half a billion dollars to help care for the migrant arrivals since last August. The funds have gone towards shelter and health care services.

As a result, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget projects that the state is looking at $1 billion in budget pressures that will offset any revenues collected.

“GOMB has identified potential supplemental general funds budget pressures for the fiscal year 2024 totaling approximately $1 billion that will offset the revenue gains,” the report said. “Amounts needed to cover delayed FEMA reimbursements to [Health and Family Services] for COVID-related nursing staff support costs for hospitals, outstanding [Department of Innovation and Technology] bills, increased group insurance costs at [Central Management Services], and potential spending pressures related to asylum seekers at [Department of Human Services].”

The report also indicated the revised fiscal 2024 surplus is projected to total $422 million. The fiscal year ends June 30, 2024.

Pritzker was asked about costs for the ongoing migrant issue, but could not give a definite answer.

“We do not know from day to day literally how many people are going to be arriving because the governor of Texas and border politicians genuinely are making political decisions daily about what they want to do,” Pritzker said.

So far, spending by the state has included an additional $160 million investment through the Illinois Department of Human Services. The state funding breaks down to $30 million for a large intake center, $65 million to help Chicago launch a winterized shelter site, and $65 million in increased funding to expand the wraparound services for the shelters.

The state will also have to use taxpayer funds to reimburse other parts of the state that have taken on some of the migrant arrivals.

“We have a grant program available to other cities around the state if they were willing to take asylum seekers into their cities,” Pritzker said. “We will help them pay for all of that.”

On top of the millions set aside in the budget, Illinois has already suspended new enrollment for a program intended to provide taxpayer-subsidized health care to the influx of non-citizen arrivals over 65. The program was budgeted for $550 million but is already up to $831.6 million in projected taxpayer costs.

Pritzker said at the end of the day, the state needs federal help.

“Look, the states that are unfortunately receiving migrants from these politicians in the south are the ones that need help from the federal government,” Pritzker said.

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