Pritzker signs $50 billion Illinois budget, faces criticism over underfunded pensions

After signing it into law, Gov. J.B. Pritzker displayed the document authorizing the state of Illinois to spend $50 billion in the fiscal year that begins next month.

Democrats say it's balanced, though some critics complain it does not fully fund pensions for government employees.

The governor touted the multiple upgrades Illinois's credit rating has recently received.

Senate President Don Harmon referenced cash going into the state's rainy day fund and into pensions that are scandalously underfunded by billions of dollars.

"The budget Gov. Pritzker will sign shortly continues to pay down debt and once again includes additional pension payments. It continues our commitment to fully fund K-12 schools," said Harmon (D-Oak Park).


One political flashpoint during the general assembly's budget negotiations involved the soaring cost of state-provided health care for undocumented people who are in Illinois in violation of federal immigration law.

Proponents claimed it would cost $2 to $3 million a year, but in the fiscal year that begins July 1, it's expected to cost more than $500 million.

"We save money when we invest in health care for undocumented immigrants, because you know what happens if they don't get health care, basic health care. They end up in an emergency room. And we all end up paying for that at a much higher cost than if we had preventative care, regular care for people," Pritzker said.

There is also money for the troubled Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to hire 192 additional staff and to improve facilities.

The agency's been hit by judges with multiple orders finding it in contempt of court for allegedly failing to deliver basic services in a timely fashion.