CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Central Illinoisans are reacting to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposed $45.6 billion budget intended to provide $1.8 billion in taxpayer relief.
House and Senate Democrats reached a deal on the budget Thursday night. It is expected to pass the General Assembly on Friday, the last night of the legislative session.
Taxpayer relief provisions include suspending the grocery tax for one year, freezing the gas tax for six months and sending direct checks to individuals making less than $200,000 and families making $400,000 per year. Each adult gets a $50 check and $100 per child (up to three per family).
The gas tax was initially slated to increase in July because of inflation, but the proposed budget would freeze it at $0.39 per gallon through the end of the year.
Some residents said suspending the 1% grocery tax will help a lot of families. Illinois is one of just 13 states to have a grocery tax.
“It’s going to help the average family. It’s just something less they’re going to have to pay. Anything is a help,” said Bob Linsley, meat manager at Lindy’s, a grocery store in Washington.
“I think it would be nice to get a little bit of a break so people can calm down and readjust to the changing times,” said Washington resident Krista Boston.
But other residents are skeptical.
“No matter what they suspend, at some point we’re going to have to pay it back anyway,” said Princeville resident Larry Simmons.
Washington resident Terry Carlson backed the gas and grocery tax cuts, but said the checks are not a good idea.
“I’m sure it may help some families but as far the budget of Illinois? They have never met the budget so its probably going to cost us money,” said Carlson.
State Sen. Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) said the temporary provisions are political tricks for an election year.
“[It’s} an election year gimmick where we give people back a little bit of their tax revenue until just after the election,” he said.
Stoller said any proposed tax reductions should be permanent.
“Republicans have proposed permanent relief in the sales tax on gas, which gives us much greater relief at the gas pump,” he said.