Legislative Update -- September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Census 2020
As we reported last week, there is legislation pending in the U.S. Congress to push the census data collection deadline back to October 31 from September 30; there is also litigation pending. However, for the moment, the deadline remains September 30. Illinois is tied at #7 among states for self-response rate at 70.4%, compared to the national rate at 65.9%. However, we are #15 for total enumerated (which includes non-response follow-up) at 95.5%, still ahead of the national rate at 93%. We are almost there and need everyone's help getting that last 4.5% counted!

Springfield Update: Illinois State Budget

On Tuesday, September 15, Governor Pritzker said he has asked state agencies to prepare for 5% budget cuts in the current fiscal year (2021) and to look ahead to 10% cuts for the following fiscal year, due to dire budget projections. To date, the state has collected approximately $7 billion in revenues towards the full-year budget of $43 billion, which is about $700 million more than its historical average. However, that figure includes more than $1.1 billion in corporate and personal income taxes that were delayed from April 2020 to July 2020, representing a shift from fiscal year 2020 to 2021 rather than an actual increase. Once that figure is taken into account, the state is behind its historical revenue collections by this point in the year by approximately $500 million.

In addition, the Illinois Department of Revenue is projecting total fiscal year 2021 Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) collections to be $1.2 billion, or a decrease of 17.4% from the Illinois FY2020 collection amount. Other state economists are projecting between a 22-25% PPRT reduction from last year’s total collections. Many Illinois district libraries receive PPRT revenues and should therefore expect a decrease. Basic information about PPRT is available in ILA's Intro to Property Taxes.

There is one bright spot: State sales tax is currently outperforming expectations, with collections ahead of budget by approximately $200 million, or nearly 15%. The Governor's Office of Management and Budget attributes this to "pent-up consumer demand carried over from the end of fiscal year 2020" in its August 2020 report to the Legislative Budget Oversight Commission.

Planning continues by state staffers to ensure contingency plans are in place if revenues continue to lag projections or if the November income tax ballot referendum is not adopted. As of today, the state has not exercised the authority the legislature granted to it to borrow from the Federal Reserve for budgetary purposes.  

ILA will continue to monitor the budget situation with an eye toward development of our legislative agenda for spring 2021. We were able to secure an increase in the per capita grant rate for school and public libraries this year; the environment is challenging at best with regard to legislative proposals that carry budget increases in 2021.

Springfield Update: Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

On Wednesday, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus held a hearing at Chicago State University to discuss its education proposals, one of four tiers of the Caucus's  legislative agenda along with criminal justice reform, violence and police accountability; economic access, equity and opportunity; and health care and human services. We do not yet know which specific pieces of proposed legislation may make up the eventual education and workforce  development platform, but it is likely there will be a role for libraries, especially school libraries.

iREAD Summer Reading Programs

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