Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the state budget legislation Wednesday, as well as a plan to change Illinois from a flat tax to a graduated income tax structure.
Pritzker signed the bills at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago's Loop. They are pillars of what the first-year governor has called one of the most "ambitious and consequential" legislative session in state history.
“A new era of fiscal stability has arrived in Illinois,” Pritzker said in a statement. “This budget balances our obligations while making consequential investments for working families, for our communities, and for our future.”
The nearly $40 billion budget increases spending for education and the state's child welfare agency. It fully funds the state's $9 billion pension contribution and borrows $1.2 billion to pay $6.7 billion in overdue bills. The budget also includes a $1,600 annual pay raise for lawmakers.
“This is a watershed moment in Illinois," the governor said at a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday. "Today I’m proud to say that we’ve made progress with one of the most consequential and most transformative legislative sessions in our state’s history.”
The income tax measure adds a constitutional amendment question to 2020 ballots asking voters whether they want rates to increase with income. A second piece of legislation sets the new income tax rates, should voters approve of the change.
"We are on the verge of finally creating a fair income tax in Illinois that puts the burden of fixing our finances on people like me, who can most afford it, not the 97 percent of Illinoisans earning less than $250,000," Pritzker's statement read.