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Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 5/7/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Chicago’s reopening plan
- Illinois’ economic shortages
- the fight to get the legislature to reconvene
- proposed measure for personal protective equipment
- As COVID-19 continues to affect the nation’s economy, Illinois’ economic future is particularly uncertain, given the state’s precarious financial situation and high debt prior to the pandemic. State economists predict a $2.74 billion shortfall in general revenue for the remainder of 2020, and an even greater shortfall is expected in fiscal year 2021. Some of the largest impacts to the state economy include reduced gaming revenue due to casinos being closed and fewer people purchasing lottery tickets, decline in motor fuel tax because gasoline demand has been minimal during the stay-at-home orders, and increased expenses, such as unemployment benefits for a significantly large number of residents who became unemployed in a very short period. Although Illinois has requested $11 billion in unemployment funding from the Federal Unemployment Account, all assistance from that fund must be repaid through taxes on Illinois’ employers.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and health officials were scheduled to announce Chicago’s reopening framework today. However, just hours before the announcement, the Mayor cancelled the news conference due to scheduling conflicts. Chicago residents continue to wait for guidance from the Mayor and health officials on how the Chicago area can safely proceed with reopening the economy.
- The Illinois legislature does not plan to reconvene soon. Under Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan, the General Assembly will not be able to meet in person for some time. House Speaker Michael Madigan stated on Wednesday, “First and foremost, we need to ensure the health and safety of members, staff and the general public is considered at all times when thinking about a return to Springfield. While the governor’s actions have reduced the curve and saved lives, it’s clear that Illinois is not out of the woods.” Some lawmakers are pushing for the legislature to convene soon to address unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, healthcare related to COVID-19, budget needs, and economic recovery issues.
- Legislation has been proposed that could require an essential business employer to provide personal protective equipment to independent contractors and to all employees for the duration of the disaster proclamation or executive order. HB 5769 would create these requirements under the “Personal Protective Equipment Responsibility Act.” It is uncertain how the General Assembly will consider this proposed legislation because the legislature is not convened.