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Illinois taxpayers in dark on budget details before adjournment

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(The Center Square) – With the final scheduled session day on Friday, Illinois taxpayers remain in the dark about how state lawmakers plan to spend billions in taxes.

Earlier in the day Thursday, at an unrelated event in Pontoon Beach, Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave scant details about the budget. But he was asked about his proposed tax increase on sports betting companies.

“Most of the pushback of course is by the sportsbook companies that have made literally tens of millions of dollars from the state of Illinois and all we’re asking is they pay a little more of their fair share,” Pritzker said. “It keeps our tax rate at below the other of the top sportsbook states in the country, New York and New Jersey.”

Later in the day, as the House was giving final approval for what could be the state’s official mushroom, House Minority Leader Tony McCombie asked state Rep. Michelle Mussman what was next to her.

“Is that big white thing there, is that the budget?” McCombie asked, referencing a representation of a large mushroom on display at Mussman’s desk.

“This is not the budget, this is calvatia,” Mussman said.

While details about how legislators plan to spend more than $50 billion in taxpayer funds were scarce late into Thursday evening, some legislators were lining up new or expanded programs to use taxpayer funds.

State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, was confident her measure to bring about grants for farmer-owned grocery stores would be funded in the budget.

“I believe I was told the cost is about $200,000 and we’re working to get it in the budget right now,” Harper said.

Legislators return to session Friday. That’s the scheduled adjournment, but they also have the rest of the month scheduled for contingency days.