Senate Week in Review: April 18-22, 2022

SPRINGFIELD – A $46.5 billion budget rushed through by Democrat legislative leaders in the early-morning hours of April 9, and signed into law this week by Gov. JB Pritzker, is right of out an election-year playbook, according to State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley).

Also, during the week, the Governor announced that he would update Illinois’ mask guidelines in the wake of a federal court ruling, and IDOT is asking the public to watch for maintenance crews working alongside Illinois roads.

Pritzker signs big government budget, temporary tax relief

Syverson says Gov. Pritzker and Democrat legislative leaders have once again chosen big government over permanent tax relief for Illinoisans, passing an election-year budget that increases state spending by more than $3 billion but only provides minimal and temporary tax relief for families. Gov. Pritzker signed the state’s spending plan April 19.

Republican legislative leaders have for months offered plans that would have provided more permanent tax relief for taxpayers, not just temporary election-year tax relief gimmicks; however, Democrat budgeteers did not include any of those ideas in their $46.5 billion spending plan.

Syverson says the bungled handling of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund is another example of Democrat leaders’ fiscal carelessness. Majority Party legislators shirked their fiscal responsibilities by not fully paying Illinois’ $4.5 billion UI trust fund deficit. Late in March, they approved a partial payment of $2.7 billion, leaving a $1.8 billion debt. Instead of using the once-in-a-lifetime flood of federal funds to fix the state’s UI deficit, Democrat leaders spent it on pork projects in their own districts.

The Governor has used the influx of federal money, more than $16 billion, as an opportunity to try and promote his so-called “fiscal responsibility.” Just this week, he held a press conference praising a recent credit upgrade, but failed to mention that Illinois still has the lowest rating of any state from Moody’s Investors Service.

Fiscal Year 2023 runs from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

Pritzker updates mask guidelines

Gov. Pritzker says he will revise mask guidelines for the State of Illinois to align with a federal court ruling that ends the enforcement of the federal mask mandate on public transportation.

Pritzker’s Executive Order 2022-06 will be amended to state that masks will no longer be required on public transit, in public transit hubs, or in airports. The Administration notes, however, that local municipalities have the right to establish their own mitigations, including masking requirements on public transportation.

IDOT: Watch for maintenance teams

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is reminding the public to be on the lookout for maintenance teams picking up litter along the roads, as part of its ongoing Think Before You Throw! campaign.

IDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program resumed normal operations last year, after they were suspended due to COVID-19. Volunteers logged 766 hours while participating in 1,317 cleanup activities. Almost 1,600 bags of garbage were collected. Visit the Adopt-A-Highway page to fill out an online application and “adopt” a two-mile section of highway in Illinois.

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