State budget to be cut by up to $8 billion due to COVID-19 outbreak

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois lawmakers say the COVID-19 outbreak will lead to drastic changes on this year’s budget.

Lawmakers say up to $8 billion dollars, or 20% of the state’s yearly budget could be lost due to the Novel Coronavirus.

Last year, Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-Illinois) signed the State’s infrastructure bill, ‘Rebuild Illinois,’ into law.

It includes $45 billion worth of investments for infrastructure, early childhood centers, the state crime lab, and veterans’ homes over the next six years.

State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) believes some of these projects may have to be put on hold.

“People are not driving as much, so gas taxes are gonna be down. I think the capital bill is in place, we have projects identified, it just may take a little bit longer timeline to reach that,” State Sen. Koehler said.

State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) says the $2 trillion federal stimulus package, signed by President Trump last week, will cushion the financial blow for the entire state.

“There are things to help affected businesses, key industries, and key elements for governments that are impacted,” State Rep. Spain said.

But, Spain says last week’s stimulus package won’t be the last package we see.

“That’s important, but I don’t think it’s the last of what we will need to see in terms of additional federal assistance,” Spain said.

Koehler agrees the stimulus package will be helpful to the state of Illinois.

“We’re gonna depend on all that. The state of Illinois is scheduled to receive about $5 billion, that’s not even talked about yet how that’s going to be split up,” Koehler said.

Both lawmakers say the General Assembly still plans to pass a balanced budget this year.

The deadline to pass the state budget is May 30. State Sen. Koehler says that deadline is arbitrary and will get pushed back if needed.

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