United StatesIllinois

Pritzker blames Republicans for ‘extraordinarily painful’ cuts if federal help fails

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a news conference in Chicago on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Congressional Republicans are standing in the way of Illinois getting federal assistance.

Pritzker warned Wednesday of “extraordinarily painful” cuts to government spending, including layoffs and job losses to businesses that rely on state contracts for work, if GOP Senators and Representatives in Washington keep objecting to a federal aid package that sends states money.

“If Republicans continue to take the stand that they’ve taken, including the Republicans in the Illinois delegation, against support for local governments and state governments, then we’re going to have to make drastic cuts,” he said. “Our Office of Management and Budget is always hard at work, thinking about where we can make changes, cuts and so on. This will be painful. Extraordinarily painful.”

Representatives of the Illinois GOP could not immediately be reached for comment regarding Pritzker’s comments.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza has said something similar but didn’t lay blame at the feet of Republicans.

“I’m not going to sugar-coat it: I believe big challenges lie ahead for the State of Illinois,” Mendoza said. “Without question, Illinois … will need financial support from the federal government. This is not aid for historic problems we were on a path to solving – but for these new holes COVID-19 has blown into our budget.”

The state’s budget that started July 1 relies on billions of dollars in federal aid to cover increased spending on COVID-19 related expenses and a $5 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank. That federal money has yet to be allocated. The delayed state income tax filing deadline added to the budgetary stress from the previous fiscal year.

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