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Tax hikes, migrant funding, medical debt retirement part of Pritzker’s proposed budget

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(The Center Square) – With a projected deficit of close to $900 million, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker presented his sixth State of the State and budget address Wednesday.

The plan includes $52.7 billion in spending, roughly a 2% increase over the current fiscal year budget.

What is sure to be a talking point in the coming months, the budget includes an additional $182 million for the care of migrants on top of what has already been spent.

“We didn’t ask for this manufactured crisis, but we must deal with it all the same,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said President Joe Biden has been a very good president, which drew some laughter from Republicans in the chamber. The governor then called on the federal government to help with the migrant crisis.

The governor projects the state would take in over $500 million by increasing the cap on the Net Operating Loss dedication from $100,000 to $500,000. Pritzker also wants to pay off $1 billion of medical debt for low-income Illinoisans in the coming fiscal year.

“I propose that over the next four years, we eliminate $4 billion of medical debt for over 1 million Illinoisans,” said Pritzker, claiming state taxpayers will be able to pay pennies on the dollar for such debt.

Pritzker also wants to eliminate the 1% grocery tax in Illinois. But the budget calls on more than doubling the sports wagering tax from 15% to 35%. Illinois is one of the leading states in the country for sports wagering.

The state’s evidence-based funding formula for schools would see an extra $350 million, directed toward the neediest districts.

The plan also includes $12 million for a new child tax credit for low-income working families with kids under the age of 3.

Lawmakers will vote on the budget during the spring legislative session.

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