Gov. JB Pritzker signs $46.5B budget including rebates, checks to Illinois taxpayers
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday signed the state's $46.5 billion budget for 2023.
The budget includes a plan to issue tax rebates and direct payments, among other mostly temporary tax cuts, worth an estimated $1.83 billion.
"The budget I’m signing into law today brings real improvements to the lives of working families and sets us up for a stronger fiscal future," said Pritzker before touting several programs outlined in the budget, including investments in infrastructure, paying down pension debts and school funding.
Illinois tax relief plan includes a plan to send direct payments to people who pay income tax in Illinois this year.
The checks will range in size from $50 to $400, depending on a person's tax filing status and the number of dependents claimed. Single people who made less than $200,000 in 2021 are eligible for $50 rebates, with couples filing jointly with incomes under $400,000 set to receive $100 checks.
Tax filers will also receive $100 per dependent they claim on their 2021 taxes, up to three.
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The law states that the Illinois Department of Revenue will certify the list of taxpayers eligible for the payments after July 5, meaning the checks won't be mailed until the second half of the year.
Though the 2021 tax deadline was Monday, all income tax payers who file before Oct. 17 will be eligible for checks.
The state is also rolling out a one-time property tax rebate for homeowners. The break will amount to a 5% rebate on however much the homeowner paid in property taxes, though it will cap at $300.
The direct payments, officially an income tax rebate, are only available to those who file state tax returns. The property tax rebate is available to those who don't file state returns. They will have the option to fill out a property tax worksheet either electronically or by filling out a paper form and mailing it to the Department of Revenue, according to Maura Kownacki, a spokesperson for the department.
The governor also said the rebate fits into a broader effort by him and other Democrats to reduce property taxes, such as the 2019 consolidation of downstate police and fire pension funds. Pritzker said this has already reduced some upward pressure on property taxes.
Using data from the 2019 American Community Survey, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation found that Illinois has the second-highest effective residential property tax rate in the country when calculated as a percentage of home value. The only state with higher property taxes on homes was New Jersey.
Several lawmakers who managed the budget-making process at the Statehouse spoke at the ceremony where Pritzker signed the budget.
"A budget is a moral document," said Sen. Elgie Sims Jr., the Senate's top budget planner. "Right now that moral document says that Illinois is investing in a brighter future for its more than 12 million residents."
Others, such as the Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, the top budgeteer in the House, praised the inclusion of programs to help small businesses still recovering from the pandemic as well as incentive programs for electric vehicle manufacturers, battery research and "investing in the hydrogen economy."
Illinois' partisan divide, with Democrats having supermajorities in both legislative chambers and control of every statewide office, was evident during the budget signing ceremony.
"The only members of the General Assembly who voted to kick the can down the road and to stick you and your children with the bill were the Republicans who voted against it, who seem to prefer spelunking for misery over offering real solutions," said the governor on Tuesday.
Despite the majority of formal opposition to the budget coming from Republicans, two Democrats, Sen. Suzy Glowiak-Hilton, D-Western Springs, and Sen. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon, also voted against the budget.
Republicans, for their part, have been critical of the spending plan despite parts of it earning nearly unanimous support. The budget passed along largely partisan lines, but the tax relief plan passed with a single "no" vote in either chamber: Sen. Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry.
On Tuesday, one of Illinois' top Republicans, Sen. Dan McChoncie, R-Hawthorn Woods, continued his budget criticisms.
"This budget is nothing more than a campaign tool for Pritzker and the Democratic Party," he said in a statement. "Providing one-time checks to people in the mail right before their names appear on the ballot and expire right after the election is a disgrace."