Gov. Pritzker Just Cost Illinois $800 Million (And Counting)

Last week I wrote a post explaining my decision to remove myself from the “Agreed Bill Process” relating to the deficit in the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. My primary reason was that the Governor could have (and should have) paid off the $4.4 billion deficit with money from the nearly $8 billion the state received under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) without accruing interest (which has now grown to $10.7 million).

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In my post I said we didn’t know how much of that original $8 billion was left. Well, now we know. In the most recent weekly update from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), we learned that there isn’t enough left to fully pay the shortfall:

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“What should happen, and what employers, led by IRMA, have consistently called on Governor Pritzker to do, is use the $3.6 billion in remaining federal ARPA funds to reduce the deficit and then assign even responsibility between labor and business to address the remaining $1.4 billion problem. That would mean each side would be responsible for $700 million. Failing to use the ARPA funds in this manner would mean that even if the responsibility was evenly divided between business and labor, each side’s share would be more than the previous deepest Trust Fund deficit.”

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I spoke this morning with IRMA’s President who told me that he was shocked when he learned that there was so little left of the original ARPA money. While IRMA was figuring a $5 billion deficit when in fact it’s “only” $4.4 billion, this leaves us with at least an $800 million shortfall which will be paid for by employers if labor walks away from the process, which it did in 2011, sticking employers with the entire tab. Either way, there’s an $800 million hit coming to the people of Illinois even if the ARPA money is used to pay down the deficit. If it isn’t used to pay down the debt, the people and businesses of Illinois will be on the hook for the whole $4.4 billion, plus interest. Thanks, J.B. The least you could do is tell us where all that money went.

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Here’s hoping this works!

Before he went to Glasgow to tell the assembled elites about his windmill wonderland, Pritzker went to London to lobby businesses to start operating here. But if you were thinking of opening up a factory in Illinois, wouldn’t you think twice if you knew that right from the get-go you were going to be expected to help pick up the tab on this bit of financial profligacy?

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This is 100% the Governor’s fault. While he globetrots to tout legislation that may have a microscopic effect on the earth’s climate a century from now, he’s turning his back on Illinois’ current needs, and is making it more difficult for us to dig ourselves out of the hole in which we find ourselves.

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He thinks money grows on trees, and neither he nor those closest to him realize that the money needed to run this state actually comes out of the pockets of people with jobs. If he keeps this up, there will be fewer of them left with pockets to pick.

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