Hefty burden: Illinois Gov. Pritzker enacts $750 million tax increase bill

Tax increases to fund Illinois’ largest spending plan in state history.
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker

Now law is the $750 million in tax increases to fund Illinois’ largest spending plan in state history. But so is a measure increasing the state’s debt by $8 billion while giving schools more taxing authority.

Pritzker signed the $53.1 billion budget Wednesday. Friday, he signed the tax measure that includes capping the credit businesses can get for claiming net operating losses and capping the discount retailers get for collecting and remitting sales taxes.

In the early morning hours on the final day the House was in session last month, House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, criticized the video gaming terminal tax increase provision.

“Unfortunately, I think this is going to be an area where you're going to see an extreme loss on our local businesses and it’s going to be harder in the end for places to stay open,” she said.

Hours later, Pritzker defended another tax increase, the tiered tax on sports betting companies.

“In fact, if you look at what we did, really our focus was on asking people who can, companies that can pay more to pay more,” Pritzker said.

Another provision in the revenue bill found in House Bill 4951 prohibits the fee financial institutions can charge for sales tax and gratuity transactions. Despite some warning that will cause consumers to have to swipe credit cards twice, once for the goods and again for the tax, Pritzker downplayed those concerns.

“Certainly something I think, you know, we’re always willing to discuss, revisit, have a conversation about,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “There’s time to do that through the rest of the year.”

The revenue package also includes some tax credits, including a withholding tax credit for hiring local journalists, and it creates the Musicians Tax Credit and Jobs Act.

The next fiscal year begins July 1.

Pritzker also signed the bond authorization measure Friday. State Rep. Tom Weber, R-Lake Villa, said House Bill 4582 not only puts taxpayers $8 billion in more debt, it also allows local school boards to increase property taxes without a referendum.

“You heard that right, folks. A resolution to levy taxes not by referendum,” he said, noting the state has among the highest property taxes in the country.

The bill synopsis states “beginning September 1, 2024, no referendum shall be required to build or purchase a building for school classroom or instructional purposes if, prior to the building or purchase of the building, the board determines, by resolution, that the building or purchase will result in an increase in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten classroom space in the district.”

Also signed Friday was the Medicaid omnibus bill in Senate Bill 3268 that changes rates for services and gives pharmacists the ability to do tests for things like flu, HIV and COVID-19.