The State of the State will take focus Wednesday in Springfield as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to lay out his vision for the coming year.
Small business advocates are watching for what the state Legislature could do this year. Those concerned with public safety are also watching.
Illinois state lawmakers return to the capitol Tuesday. The governor’s State of the State Address, where Pritzker is expected to reflect on the state’s position and lay out his legislative priorities, is Wednesday.
After a tumultuous couple of years dealing with COVID-19 mandates and restrictions, National Federation of Independent Business Illinois State Director Chris Davis hopes the Legislature is quiet on the business front.
“I’m not confident a lot is going to get accomplished, and that’s OK this year,” Davis told WMAY. “The less impact we can have on small businesses is fine this year.”
Davis said last year, there were efforts some undertook at the statehouse that would have increased business costs, so they’re keeping their ears to the ground.
“We’re always watching out for new regulations,” Davis said. “Illinois attempted last year to pass mandatory paid leave and those are a lot of the issues that we’re facing.”
Statehouse Republicans in the super minority have been raising concerns of increased violent crime, saying Democrats are passing laws giving leniency to criminals.
Last week at an unrelated news conference, Pritzker downplayed the critics. He said his administration is focusing on more funding and more technology.
“That is taking place, even now,” Pritzker said. “We’ve got to do more, there’s no doubt about it. We need more cameras, we need more police, that’s why you’ll be hearing more about what my intentions are.”
Another issue impacting public safety is local police and fire pensions. Some cities have growing unfunded pension liabilities.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reported in December that local unfunded public safety pension liabilities increased on average 9.8% annually over 30 years, growing from $953 million in 1991 to $13 billion in 2019.
Springfield Alderman Chuck Redpath said lawmakers need to smooth out the funding ramp that local taxpayers are on the hook for.
“To extend the time from 2040 to 2050 and to allow us a little more time so that we can slow down our payments,” Redpath said.
The Illinois Municipal League’s legislative priorities includes reducing the pension funding target from 90% to 80% of liabilities and extending the date to reach that goal from 2040 to 2050.
This article was originally posted on Some want no new business regulations, focus on public safety, in Pritzker’s State of State