the Illinois General Assembly recently approved expenses $2.7 billion reduce part of $4.5 billion debt in the unemployment insurance trust fund, the fund that pays unemployment insurance benefits.
The money came from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act, a stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by the President Joe Biden a little over a year ago, March 2021.
Illinois has received $8.1 billion funds intended to relieve the state of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Unemployment Insurance Debt Repayment Plan, SB 2803, was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on March 25. He passed in the Senate the day before on a partisan vote 39-16 and passed in the House 68-43. The states Office of Management and Budget said about $800 million ARPA money remains unspent and unallocated.
Democrats hailed the spending plan as a step towards fiscal responsibility, Republicans accused the majority party of wasting ARPA funds on “pet projects”.
Where did the money go ?
the $2.7 billion to fight
The plan to lead $2.7 billion towards compulsory unemployment insurance has become a partisan struggle with Republicans fiercely opposed the measure, saying it did not go far enough to pay down the debt.
“This bill pays for pet projects for the Democrats“, said the representative. Tim ButlerR-Springfield, during the debate. Several other House and Senate Republicans made similar claims.
Butler also criticized the governor for what he called an affront to Republicans saying that some people would be excluded from “seats at the adult table” during budget negotiations.
“Tonight, with this vote, this side of the aisle is the adult table,” Butler said.
Democrats defended the state’s use of ARPA money.
“ARPA dollars have been used to keep daycares open, to keep people in their homes, to provide cash to small businesses on the brink of disaster, many of which have been shut out of the federal small business loan program. businesses,” Pritzker said before signing. the Unemployment Insurance Fund Credit Bill.
Independent analysts hailed the decision.
“Overall, I think the state’s decision to use ARPA to fill the UI trust fund deficit was fiscally wise and prudent,” said Laurence Mallpresident of the Civic Federationa non-profit research group.
Msall said the decision, in addition to the ongoing “agreed bill process”, to develop a plan for the rest $1.8 billion indebtedness will help bolster the state’s recently improved credit rating. A good credit rating makes it easier for the government to borrow money.
“Illinois is not in a position to put more strain on its budget,” Msall said.
State, local count: $25 billion
The Office of Management and Budget estimate that Illinois will receive $25 billion federal money from ARPA. The total includes funds given directly to agencies and local governments, such as $5.5 billion allocated to local school districts through the Emergency Relief Fund for Elementary and Secondary Schools.
But the state received $8.127 billion in funds that the Governor and Legislature could allocate as needed.
“This sum of money entering the state of Illinoisthis $8.1 billionis unprecedented,” Msall said.
Throughout the spring of 2021, shortly after ARPA was passed, the Governor and Legislature began allocating funds for various projects.
The bulk of ARPA dollars allocated in 2021 went to one-time infrastructure projects. In all, $1 billion spending was on broadband and sewer infrastructure projects.
These included direct grants to local governments around Illinois. Lake County has been awarded $122 million for regional stormwater management projects, with other grantees, including Beautiful city, Bolingbrook, DuPage County, Calumet Park and Champagne, among more than 40 others. the Sangamon County Water Reclamation District obtained $4 million for the improvement of infrastructure, although the city of Springfield did not receive this type of funding.
“It was not an unreasonable use,” said Msall, who pointed out that the spending had helped smooth the overall state budget over the past year.
“It’s a balancing act,” he said.
The “Back to Business” grant program was the second largest area of spending, according to records from the governor’s office.
By March, small businesses in the state had received more than two-thirds or 67% of the $300 million.
The greatest beneficiaries of Springfield were mainly in the hospitality industry, a sector particularly affected by the pandemic.
Springfield Crown Plaza and Springfield Holiday Inn Express both have received grants in excess of $200,000. Largest grant recipient in Springfieldwith $245,000was Ehrhardt Hospitality, a company that owns several Comfort Suites.
In total, the companies of Springfield has received $4.55 million under the program, according to state records Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunitywho runs the program.
About 14% or $380 million money from ARPA went directly to support the state’s response to the pandemic. It included funding for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency efforts to purchase personal protective equipment as well as the establishment of vaccination and screening sites.
He also included $7 million to the Illinois Lotterywho organized the “vaccination lottery” in 2021.
Pritzker locations $535 million new ARPA spending
As part of Pritzker’s annual budget speech, the governor presented a draft budget for fiscal year 2023 that
understand $535 million in new ARPA spending — $235 million towards grants for the prevention of violence and $300 million to support COVID-19 related programs at Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Department of Corrections and Department of Social Servicesaccording to Caroline Knowlesspokesperson for Governor’s Office of Management and Budget
The final state budget has not yet been approved, but lawmakers must vote on it before General assembly ends April 8.
The budget also includes $1.5 billion ARPA expenditures approved in the 2022 budget.
Among the provisions are $50 million for the Drug Prevention and Mental Health Block Grants, $11.6 million to “support rural transit districts”, $5 million for technology infrastructure,” according to the governor’s budget proposal.
It also includes allocations to various private and public programs. These reallocations and grants vary in amounts ranging from $75,000 for a program to help ex-convicts Champaign Urbana has a $12 million stipend for Parents Too Soon, a state-run program to provide services to teen parents.
Some other programs receiving credit include $2.5 million support disadvantaged and urban farmers, $500,000 to the switches of violence, $500,000 micro-loans to small businesses, and $250,000 to Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change, among others.
Contact Andrew Adams: [email protected]; (312)-291-1417; twitter.com/drewjayadams.