Wednesday marks beginning of Illinois’ new fiscal year

House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago) says the new fiscal year – which starts Wednesday – includes a more than 42 (b) billion dollar budget which relies on borrowing from the federal government. (Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Happy New Year!

Wednesday is the beginning of Illinois’ new fiscal year. It carries a $42.8 billion budget, but the revenues are uncertain. If voters in November approve a switch from a flat to a graduated income tax, income will increase in six months.

“In the budget we passed,” said House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago), “we did not count on revenue from the progressive income tax.”

The budget relies heavily on borrowing from the federal government, but Harris says the state already qualifies for several billion dollars.

“We watch our revenue numbers every month,” said Harris, in an interview this week. “We built enough flexibility into the budget so that we can exchange federal revenues for Federal Reserve borrowing, so we have a lot of flexibility so we can respond every month. Even if the legislature cannot come back, we built that in.”

After cancelling most of the spring session, the House and Senate returned for four days in May to complete the budget. Harris says the threat of coronavirus is great enough that he does not expect any more session days until the fall veto session in November.

Dave Dahl can be reached at News@WJBC.com. 

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