General Assembly Approves Unbalanced Budget
In May, the General Assembly passed a series of bills putting the fiscal year 2021 budget before the Governor. The budget is a mirror of the current state budget. With the uncertainty of the state revenue stream it appears the immediate goal of the legislature was to get a spending plan in place to allow state government to operate and then they can follow up later in the fiscal year with supplemental appropriations. The supplemental appropriations would likely be addressed during the fall veto session, and by this time the legislature will have a more accurate account of the State’s tax and fees receipts and as well as additional federal funds that may be made available. The overall budget also includes provisions to expend federal funds made available by the federal CARES Act and other sources.
The General Assembly also gave expanded authority to the Governor to deal with the budget shortfalls. Some of the additional authority is listed below:
- Reduces the funds derived for the state income tax that are set aside for municipalities and counties, called the Local Government Distributive Fund, by 5%.
The budget also contains the pass through of federal funds devoted to addressing economic issues associated with the COVID-19 outbreak including, but not limited to
- $316 million for small businesses statewide, of which $159 million is dedicated to counties outside of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.
- $1.5 billion for the State’s operations and continued response related to COVID-19.
- $250 million for local governments’ operations and continued response related to COVID-19.
- $260 million statewide for assistance to childcare facilities impacted by COVID-19, of which $70 million is dedicated to counties outside of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.
Agricultural Related Budget Items
The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s budget is similar to the previous year’s budget. However, this year, the General Assembly added funding to be used for COVID-19 related challenges for livestock farms.
The FY21 budget includes $5 million from the CARES Act directly for livestock producers to recoup economic losses from COVID-19. The funds were allocated to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Producers will be able to apply for funds for costs that are eligible for reimbursement pursuant to CARES Act, such as losses due to market interruptions, including depopulation. Although, the budget authorizes the use of these funds, the administration will have to implement rules and procedures for producers to apply and secure reimbursement. More details and guidance will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.
Over the past several days Farm Bureau has worked with the Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, and Illinois Soybean Association to secure dedicated funding from the federal CARES Act in the state budget to address the financial crisis livestock producers are facing.