Illinois Venture Capital Association Illinois Legislative Report
David Stricklin / Stricklin & Associates
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
PRITZKER BANKS ON CREDIT UPGRADE
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker last week trumpeted the news of an improved credit rating for the State of Illinois which he asserts is due in large part to the financial stewardship of his administration. To be sure, improved credit ratings for Illinois are as rare as (insert favorite Bears, Cubs, White Sox joke here), still it’s interesting to note this is among the key themes the governor is taking to voters this fall.
Moody’s noted that Illinois is “on track to close the current fiscal 2022 with its strongest fund balance in over a decade,” its progress in repaying its debts, and its increased pension contributions, taken as an indication of the state’s increased commitment to paying its pension debt.
A few days prior the governor and legislative Democrats appeared together at a signing ceremony for the budget which takes effect July 1. Democrats believe their combination paying debt and making pension payments combined with a series of specific tax-relief measures will prove to be good policy and good politics.
Republicans did not supply any votes in favor of the budget and will argue what little was done was not enough and the surplus of state funds from federal sources and strong revenue collections provided a rare opportunity to do much more on pension reform and to address other systemic challenges.
Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, who is a candidate for state treasurer, contrasted the governor’s dire warnings with the financial picture put forth by Democrats in an election year that will see every statewide office and seat in the General Assembly up for grabs.
“You were bailed out by billions in additional funding from the federal government in Medicaid matching funds. You were bailed out by, across the country, trillions of dollars that were injected into our economies that led to higher-than-expected collections in revenue for the state temporarily,” he said during floor debate.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON RECESS
The Illinois General Assembly adjourned early Saturday, April 9 and is not scheduled to return to Springfield until after the November elections. The legislative calendar was specifically altered this session to end in early April instead of late May, so legislators could spend time in their districts which have been redrawn to represent population trends of the past decade.
Republican leaders believe voters will return some suburban Senate and House Districts from Blue back to Red this fall, and Democrats are also bracing for the loss of a few downstate districts which are the last holdouts in a nationwide trend with more rural areas going from Blue to Red.
It seems unlikely that Democrats will lose their majorities in either the Illinois House or Illinois Senate, though Illinois Republicans are rallying for a “wave” election such as 1994, which gave Republicans in the Illinois House their only Speaker in modern history during the 95-96 session.
Illinois Republicans are busy deciding which candidate is best able to defeat incumbent Governor JB Pritzker in November. Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey has worked diligently to position himself as the favorite among Trump voters, and a conversation with him conducted by Crain’s is here:
GOVERNOR CANDIDATE BAILEY
Bailey recently enjoyed an infusion of campaign resources from noted Illinois donor Richard Uihlein:
Uihlein joins Griffin as one of the larger campaign contributors in the GOP primary. Griffin, the state’s wealthiest person and head of the hedge fund firm Citadel, earlier this year gave $20 million to Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s June 28 primary bid for the Republican nomination for governor to face Pritzker in November. Two years ago, Griffin pumped millions into defeating Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax amendment.