SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Democrats passed legislation late Wednesday evening that leaves a $1.8 billion shortfall in the Illinois Unemployment Trust Fund. State Rep. Patrick Windhorst says the move will lead to benefit cuts, interest penalties, and a tax hike on job creators.
“When the Federal government made a loan available to the State of Illinois to help with pandemic related strain on the unemployment system, the rules were pretty clear. Pay back the money in full or face interest penalties,” Windhorst said. “Illinois has already racked up tens of millions of dollars in interest that we owe the Federal government. I have argued that we need to use existing federal money that we have available to pay back the unemployment insurance loan in full. Democrats went a different direction and prioritized their own pork projects.”
SB 2803 as amended leaves $1.8 billion of the $4.5 billion total deficit in the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust fund unpaid. Windhorst said the deficit will cause further interest penalties to continue to accrue.
“There was no plan presented to the House that outlines how the $1.8 billion will be paid back,” Windhorst said. “That deficit leaves the fund vulnerable in case another major emergency like a pandemic happens again, but also creates the very real possibility of an increase for businesses paying unemployment insurance, and possible cuts to benefits for the unemployed. All around, the Democrats’ action represents a financially irresponsible decision.”
House Republicans opposed the bill, but House Democrats advanced the measure to the Senate where it passed on Thursday. The bill now heads to Governor Pritzker.