SPRINGFIELD, IL – Deputy House Minority Leader Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) has filed new legislation to ensure transparency in how Governor Pritzker spends remaining federal COVID-19 relief funds allocated to Illinois under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress in March 2021.
Demmer’s legislation, House Bill 4213, would address specific concerns related to Governor Pritzker’s management of ARPA funds. Specifically, Demmer’s bill would require the Governor to formally notify the four legislative leaders of the Illinois General Assembly in advance before designating how ARPA funds will be spent. The notice would be required to include the amount being allocated, the purpose that amount is intended to fund, and the reason the expenditure is needed.
“Taxpayers deserve to know how and why all APRA funds are spent without exception,” Rep. Demmer said. “There have been repeated questions about how the Pritzker Administration has been using some of the federal dollars that have come in. My legislation would ensure a measure of accountability by requiring the Governor to notify the General Assembly before he designates COVID relief money to be transferred to any project. While state law allows the Governor to make unilateral decisions to transfer funds at his discretion, my bill would force him to be upfront about his budget actions with respect to ARPA funds.”
Under ARPA, Illinois will receive $8.1 billion COVID-19 relief. In the current state budget, the Democratic majority appropriated a portion of that total, including roughly $1 billion in capital projects in districts represented only by Democrats, leaving approximately $5.6 billion in unspent ARPA funds.
In the summer of 2021, the Governor’s Office indicated they would use $2 billion of remaining ARPA funds to make up for lost revenues due to the economic impact of the pandemic without appropriation from the General Assembly; while although permitted under ARPA, does not provide adequate transparency to the public. The Governor used his statutory authority to transfer these funds even though during debate on the FY22 state budget, Democrats indicated that all remaining funds would be subject to appropriation by the legislature.
House Bill 4213 has been assigned to the House Executive Committee for a hearing.
Representative Demmer serves Illinois’ 90th District which includes portions of Ogle, Lee, DeKalb and LaSalle Counties.