Stimulus checks are coming soon for one state. But the amount could be a little underwhelming: Illinois is pushing ahead with rumored plans to issue statewide stimulus checks in its latest budget. At the start of the month, Illinois state Senate Democrats proposed $1.8 billion in tax cuts that would include stimulus checks for nearly all residents of the state.
The intention, state Senator Elgie Sims said in a press conference, was to help residents navigate rising inflation. It is one of the first stimulus measures in the country formulated to help residents deal with a struggling economy instead of replacing lost wages as a result of lockdowns.
“We’re going to drive down skyrocketing gas and grocery costs and give people some needed relief,” Sims said.
Republican leaders in the state, however, insist that the measure is little more than a gimmick.
“Illinoisans will see right through this disingenuous gimmick,” Illinois Republican party leader Dan McConchie said.
Illinois Passes the State Budget
Illinois legislators worked into the early hours of Saturday morning to pass the $46.5 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. Final proposals of the budget were made by 9pm on Friday, and voting was delayed after Republicans took issue with 4,7000 pages of legislation outlining tax policy for the next fiscal year were filed late.
Republican Senator Chapin Rose condemned state Democrats for providing the information so late into the process.
“Everybody in this room knows it’s damn near impossible to know what’s actually happening here without a bill being filed,” he said. “How do you possibly begin to ask questions about something that doesn’t yet exist?”
The package contains several tax relief measures, including sending $50 checks to Illinois residents who learn less than $200,000 if they file individually. $100 checks will be issued to joint filters who earn less than $400,000. Lastly, families will also receive checks for $100 for every dependent, with a maximum of three dependents.
Other tax measures include increasing the earned income tax credit to 20% of federal credit – an increase of 18% – costing the state as much as $100 per year.
Wider Relief Measures
Illinois Governor JB Pritzkey issued a statement after Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on the spending plan, stressing the importance of “uplifting working families.”
“Today, leaders in both chambers have come to an agreement on yet another responsible, balanced budget that does just that,” Pritzkey’s office writes. “Our plan delivers more than $1.8 billion in tax relief to Illinois residents, adds $1 billion to our state’s long-depleted Rainy-Day Fund, and doubles down on our efforts to make unprecedented investments in public safety.”
Other relief measures outlined in the press release include suspending the tax on groceries for one year, freezing motor fuel tax for six months, doubling the property tax rebate, and providing “back to school tax relief for families and teachers.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.