The Illinois Legislature starts in earnest Tuesday and with Democratic supermajorities in both chambers and a Democrat in the executive office, they’ll have to shore up a budget while moving forward with progressive agenda including raising the state's minimum wage.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that he will be looking for new revenue streams to help “dig out” of the state’s financial mess, but two income sources he’s looking at may not materialize by budget time.
The task is to balance an already unbalanced budget with big asks from higher education and K-12 schools plus the raises Pritzker promised to thousands of state employees. The raises could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The governor's office hasn't released a price tag for the total cost and was still in the process of calculating the cost when Pritzker announced the pay bumps. Illinois' public colleges and universities want about $300 million more than last year and K-12 schools have asked for billions more.
The state's most recent budget was more than $1 billion out of balance, and that didn't include estimated one-time savings from the sale of the Thompson Center in Chicago or savings from a pension buyout plan that has yet to been funded through bond sales. The Thompson Center hasn't been sold despite the potential sale having been counted as revenue in several recent state budgets.
The complete story here > Democrats make raising state's minimum wage a top priority