Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker unveiled his first state budget on Wednesday.
Pritzker addressed a joint session of the General Assembly and shared his plans for state spending.
The governor’s $39 billion proposal focuses on education, health and human services, and public safety.
Pritzker also wants to legalize recreational marijuana and sports betting, saying the move would raise more than $1 billion in revenue.
“This budget proposal reflects some of my most deeply held values and the hopes of voters who sent us here, but tempered by the knowledge that we must hold the line on spending, in the context of the revenue available, and the diminished condition of our state government,” he said.
Pritzker also plans to push to replace the state’s flat-rate income tax with a graduated tax, which would not affect next year’s budget.
Voters would have to vote on the change in 2020.
Sen. Dave Syverson (R-35th Dist.) applauded the governor’s support for gaming and community colleges throughout the state, but believes he isn’t doing enought to curb spending.
“There’s good and bad, but overall, I certainly have some concerns with the amount of increased spending, increased taxes, and then pushing off pensions. That’s something that was being done under the Blagojevich and Quinn years, and it created significant issues,” Syverson said.
Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-34th Dist.) approves of the governor’s plan, saying in part, “I think the governor’s proposed budget places our values at the forefront by increasing funding for education, from kindergarten all the way through college. I am also pleased with the increased funding for public safety and child care assistance.”