Jacobs: Democrats Short Unemployment Fund, Prioritize Pork Projects

SPRINGFIELD – After House Democrats passed legislation on Wednesday night that shorts the unemployment insurance trust fund by $1.7 billion, State Rep. Paul Jacobs (R-Pomona) issued the following statement.

“Illinois Democrats had a simple choice, use the ARPA funding to pay off our unemployment insurance trust fund debt, or impose a tax hike on jobs. As they so often do, they chose a tax hike on jobs. The pandemic left us with $4.5 billion in unemployment insurance trust fund debt – but, this one-time COVID-related debt also came with a one-time COVID-related solution: CARES and ARPA funds.

Many other states faced the same challenge we do, and they responsibly used these federal relief dollars to pay off their unemployment insurance debt and avoid tax increases or benefit reductions – but not Illinois. Illinois Democrats have shamefully prioritized their own pork projects ahead of shoring up our unemployment insurance fund. This is especially dangerous given Governor Pritzker’s willingness to unilaterally close down the entire economy when COVID-19 began. If we have another emergency, the fund will be short, and Uncle Sam is not likely to print trillions of dollars again to bail us out. The Democrats made a huge mistake by shorting the fund. They’ve left taxpayers on the hook for millions more in interest payments to the federal government and they’ve set conditions that will lead to a tax hike on every job in Illinois.”

SB 2803 passed the Illinois House as amended on a partisan roll call. Zero Republicans endorsed the plan. The bill will be sent back to the Senate for a concurrence motion.