More spending for migrants anticipated when lawmakers return in January

(The Center Square) – The state of Illinois has spent nearly $1 billion on migrant care and services over the past 15 months to deal with more than 24,000 non-citizen arrivals. When legislators return in January, the taxpayer cost could increase.

Chicago has set aside an additional $150 million to help shelter and care for the influx of noncitizen arrivals. The state recently announced it will be contributing another $160 million in taxpayer funds for services.

On Tuesday, after 25 more buses arrived over the weekend, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that lawmakers may vote on increased funding when they return.

"I want to ensure we are doing everything we can. Obviously, those will be parts of a budget discussion with the General Assembly," Pritzker said. "We have made it available to the General Assembly to vote on if they wanted to have a supplemental [appropriation] to provide dollars for this."

In October, Pritzker shot down the idea of a supplemental appropriation to the crisis and said he has been diverting money from state programs to cover extra costs.

"We have taken some of the programs that have pre-existed the crisis and adjusted them to help with the migrant crisis," Pritzker said last month. "Let me give you one example, our rental assistance program, we have provided some of that rental assistance money, which wasn’t originally intended to be about asylum seekers, for this challenge."

Aside from the tens of millions of dollars for housing migrants, the state budget has $550 million in taxpayer subsidies for the health care of migrants over 65.

Some state legislators have weighed in on the situation and have blamed Pritzker for letting the spending spin out of control.

"The governor is on a spending spree. He is allowed to move double the amount of money than anybody in the previous history, and this will put more pressure on taxpayers," state Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, told The Center Square. "They will argue that revenues are increasing, but at some point in time, there is a tipping point."

Recommended Posts