State Representative David Allen Welter, R-Morris, released this statement following the passage of SB 2803 regarding the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund debt:
“Today, the Democrat supermajority had a choice: use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to fully pay off Illinois’ unemployment insurance trust fund debt, or impose a tax hike on jobs and force benefit reductions on families who depend upon this safety net when they lose their job. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, they chose the latter. We have more than enough ARPA funds to pay off the full $4.5 billion debt, but Democrats have yet again taken the fiscally irresponsible path, leaving the unemployment insurance trust fund vulnerable to another emergency and putting the burden on taxpayers. This is yet another example of serious fiscal malpractice by the Governor and his allies in the legislature that could have been avoided.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a $4.5 billion deficit in the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, a debt the state owes to the federal government. Until March 31, 2022, federal rules allow the state to deposit remaining ARPA money into the fund. Since the Democrats’ legislation does not fill the complete $4.5 billion hole, the state faces interest penalties that will raise unemployment insurance taxes, making it a tax hike on jobs.