As the Governor prepares to present his annual budget address next week, lawmakers are anxious to see how he intends to address the expected budgetary deficit and various points of contention, including the ongoing migrant crisis and free healthcare program for noncitizens.

While the U.S. economy has been more resilient than some economists originally anticipated, the state’s economy is expected to experience a significant decrease in revenues in the coming year, all the while spending is continuing to increase. According to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, Illinois is projected to face a nearly $900 million deficit for Fiscal Year 2025.

Governor Pritzker’s program to provide free healthcare to noncitizens is a particular point of contention in the upcoming budget process. The program has become one of the state’s largest fiscal responsibilities as well as one of its most scrutinized programs. The Governor claimed last year that new copayment requirements for migrants were expected to reduce some costs. $550 million was allocated for the program, but current estimates say the cost will be at least $200 million over budget. Senate Republicans have repeatedly pushed for the Governor and his allies to focus on other priorities, including existing programs for struggling Illinois citizens.

The projected deficit is also partly due to new permanent spending that was created during the height of the pandemic and funded with federal relief funds. Now those federal sources of money have mostly dried up.

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