State Passes $40.1 Billion Budget, Puts 'Fair Tax' on November 2020 Ballot

State Passes $40.1 Billion Budget, Puts ‘Fair Tax’ on November 2020 Ballot

Voters will have the opportunity to decide in the November 2020 General Election whether to move forward with a constitutional amendment to approve the state’s proposed “Fair Tax,” which was OK’d in a $40.1 billion budget bill signed Wednesday (June 5, 2019) by Gov. JB Pritzker.

To move the fair tax forward, the governor signed SB 687, which would go into effect if and when voters approve a constitutional amendment to Illinois’ budget in November 2020.

In that general election, voters will be asked whether Illinois should change the state’s constitution by authorizing a graduated-rate tax based on the size of income and repealing the currently mandated flat-rate income tax.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the referendum would require approval from 60 percent of those voting on the issue, or a majority of those voting in the election, to be adopted.

The state has provided a “Fair Tax Calculator” at

The legislation includes a 20 percent increase in property tax credits and a $100 per child tax credit, both of which are phased out at higher income levels, according to a state of Illinois news release.

Rates on all taxpayers are presently 4.95 percent; SB 687 would reduce the rates on portions of filers’ income at or below $100,000. Rates would begin to increase above the current law when filers’ income exceeds $250,000.

State officials say the new budget will generate $150 million in surplus that will be targeted to pay down a portion of the state’s remaining bill backlog.

Overall, this budget represents a bridge to the “fair tax,” which could be included in the FY21 budget.

The budget will go into effect on July 1, 2019, the beginning of the state’s 2020 fiscal year.

2019 Operating Budget Highlights

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release

Highlights of the budget, which was negotiated between the governor and lawmakers, include the following elements of SB 262, SB 689 and SB 1814:


  • Increases Evidence-Based Funding for K-12 education by $378.6 million.
  • Increases Early Childhood Education funding by $50 million.
  • Increases funding for Career and Technical Education programming by $5 million.
  • Increases funding for public universities by $52.8 million, and community colleges by $13.9 million, a 5 percent increase.
  • Increases the Monetary Award Program funding by $50 million, a 12.5 percent increase.
  • Includes $35 million for the second year of the AIM HIGH grant pilot program, intended to help stem the outmigration of Illinois’ high achieving students.
  • Provides $23.8 million for a Competitive Grant Program for Student Support Services.

Social Services

  • Provides $80 million in additional funding at DCFS for more than 300 additional staff, rate increases for providers and development of a comprehensive child welfare information system.
  • Expanded child care assistance eligibility through the Child Care Assistance Program at DHS, providing quality care to an additional 10,000 children. The threshold increases from 185 percent to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, starting in October 2019. Once in the program, families will be allowed to remain eligible up to 225 percent FPL.
  • Includes an additional $6 million to Public Health to fund new lead screening cases tied to changes in the actionable levels of lead present in blood.
  • Provides $20.6 million to Veterans’ Affairs to open the Chicago Veterans’ Home in the spring of 2020 and $230 million in funding to build a new Quincy Veterans’ Home.
  • Includes $65.5 million for the Community Care Program at the Department on Aging to address growth and service use and to improve quality care for seniors.
  • Includes $107 million to DHS ensure rates for Developmental Disability, Child Care, Home Services and other community-based service providers are increased
  • Includes $29 million to DHS for grants to community providers statewide to encourage census participation.

Criminal Justice And Public Safety

  • Funds two Illinois State Police cadet classes and a Conservation Police Officer Trainee class.
  • Funds $5 million for newly enacted Firearm Dealer License Certification Program operated through the State Police.
  • Increases operations funding by $6.5 million operations for a School Safety Tip Line and 20 new crime scene investigators.
  • Includes increased funding to the Lt. Governor associated with the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity (JEO) Initiative to reform the criminal justice system.


  • Includes appropriations necessary to enact the first year of legalization of adult use cannabis – including regulatory costs, amounts needed for expungement cost reimbursements, and grant programs
  • Adds $55M in additional funding for the Supreme Court to move to a 100 percent reimbursement for local probation officers.
  • Includes $10 million to DoIT for the administration of the Illinois Century Network and broadband projects.
  • Includes new funding of $2.5 million for DCEO Technology Based Grant Program.


  • Includes the full appropriations to the state retirement systems, funding the January 2019 certified requests from the systems.
  • Extends the current pension buyout system for an additional 3 years beyond the original 2021 sunset date.

Union Contracts

  • FY19 supplemental appropriations totaling approximately $410 million were included to cover costs associated with unpaid union contract obligations dating back to FY16.
  • FY20 budget funds the expected contract costs of the tentative agreement with AFSCME.