Wednesday, March 10, 2021
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza issued this statement Wednesday after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan:
“Thank you, members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate, for responding to the needs of America to survive COVID-19. This financial relief is needed in Illinois to pay back billions of dollars we borrowed from the federal reserve that allowed us to cover the state’s health care bills as we fight our way through this pandemic.
“As I said in my guest column in Crain’s Chicago Business today:
- Yes, Illinois and all states need the stimulus package.
- No, it’s not a ‘bailout’ of blue states by red states. People in blue, red, and purple states are hurting and need help. From 2015 to 2019, Illinois taxpayers sent $16.4 billion more to the federal government than they got back in federal spending. Illinois has dutifully served as a top donor state, helping some of those same dependent states whose senators now mislabel this stimulus as a “bailout.”
- Before we spend money on anything else, any stimulus money that comes to Illinois is earmarked to pay back money we borrowed from the Federal Reserve for the state’s COVID-19 and other medical expenses during this pandemic.
- Restaurants and hotels were closed and not paying sales taxes. Employees were laid off. Not only were they not earning a paycheck and not paying personal income taxes to the state, people who’d never sought unemployment benefits had to file for the first time and avail themselves of other state services. The state had less money coming in and more demand for services. It was a double whammy to the people and to the state budget, and it will take years to recover.
- No, we are not going to spend a penny of the stimulus on old pension debt that predated the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Yes, 76% of Americans support the stimulus, including 60% of Republicans.”