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In dead of night, Illinois House approves largest spending plan in state history

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(The Center Square) – In the dead of night, Illinois House Democrats approved the largest spending plan in state history.

The more than $53 billion plan increases taxes by $750 million and spends 32% more, or $12.8 billion, than when Gov. J.B. Pritzker took office in 2019. The measure also spends $400 million more than what Pritzker proposed in February.

Approved by the Senate late in the evening Sunday and by the House in the early morning hours Wednesday, the plan also pays $971 million for non-citizen migrant health care, direct services and welcoming centers.

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth carried the plan for the House.

“This budget is balanced, responsible and fair,” Gordon-Booth said late Tuesday during a committee hearing.

State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Murrayville, said Democrats are not spending wisely.

“I have concerns that there are gimmicks in this budget that put us on a path towards a giant collision in the future and I hope I don’t have to say, ‘I told you so’ when this happens,” he said.

Republicans warned that the state is overspending, even when billions of one-time federal COVID-19 dollars were provided to the state during the pandemic. Those dollars are now dried up.

Davidsmeyer said while increasing taxes on businesses, the plan also shifts nearly $1 billion from other state funds to General Revenue Funds.

“Certainly frustrating as a taxpayer, both as a business owner and as an individual taxpayer, I don’t believe that you are being good stewards of the state’s dollars,” he said.

Davidsmeyer noted the budget also gives Democratic legislators millions of tax dollars for special projects in their districts.

Gordon-Booth acknowledged the fiscal headwinds the state faces with decreased revenue growth, but defended the plan.

“We are steadfast in our leadership roles in terms of ensuring that we are managing the fiscal house that we have in front of us,” she said.

The measure passed the House in the early morning hours Wednesday and can now be sent to the governor for his approval.