Governor J.B. Pritzker called for the General Assembly to convene and for money to be released to municipalities during his daily COVID-19 press conference yesterday. Governor Pritzker first called on the leaders of the General Assembly to convene both houses of the legislature to provide necessary relief to Illinois families. “The legislature must convene so that we can begin to put our financial and economic house back in order, even as we battle this terrible virus. The General Assembly needs to pass a comprehensive plan to support families, small businesses, and small towns. Congress is looking at supporting the states and we need to make sure that we are supporting the people who make our economy go. In addition to significantly increasing rent assistance for families and working with banks on mortgage forbearance, we need rent and mortgage assistance for small businesses to provide grants and loans for businesses, starting and restarting tax credits for small business job recovery industries, and businesses left out of the Federal PPP should be first in line. And we must pass a law to distribute funds to small cities and towns to support their need to fund first responders and basic services that could fall apart from COVID-related revenue losses, as we work to keep our residents safe and gradually reopen businesses. I hope the legislature will act expeditiously to support jobs and economic recovery.”
Beyond the scope of calling the legislature to get back into session, Pritzker announced a $25 million program through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity so that municipalities could fund key infrastructure projects through the summer.
The money comes from the Rebuild Illinois plan from the governor’s capital bill from last May. The money will go directly to shovel-ready projects with funding awarded on a rolling basis to those areas that have been designated as underserved by DCEO. The funding is supposed to kickstart projects that may have been canceled or put on hold because of a shift of funding in coronavirus response.
Pritzker also announced that $75 million would be going to the state’s hospitals in new stability payments to help fight COVID-19. Pritzker said that he recognized that many hospitals had furloughed workers or were experiencing shortfalls in their budgets due to a lack in revenue. The funds are being appropriated by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services in installments until July 1st through the state’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization partners. Pritzker said many hospitals have already begun receiving the installments.
Pritzker said during his Q&A session that he hopes that the General Assembly will be able to agree on a package for further relief to families for rent and mortgage payments as well as further income stability. He would not put a dollar amount on what he has asked General Assembly members to look for. He said the state aid package would be largely dependent upon relief received from the federal government within the next several days.