Illinois residents, governments to get part of $2 trillion federal coronavirus package

Illinois residents are in line for payments of $1,200 per person plus $500 per child from federal tax dollars under terms of a bill President Donald Trump has signed. The legislation will provide payments of $1,200 to each adult and $500 to each child younger than 17, depending on 2019 household income. A married couple with children could get up to $3,400. The payments start to phase out for people with income of $75,000 or more, or income of $150,000 for couples filing jointly. People making more than $99,000 or couples earning more than $198,000 would not be eligible.

The U.S. House passed the Senate’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, on Friday.

In addition to direct payments to residents, it also expands unemployment insurance, provides $350 billion to help small businesses, and a refundable payroll tax credit, among other things.

Inside the $2 trillion bill, the largest relief measure ever passed, Illinois state and local governments are set to get $4.9 billion. That’s part of $150 billion all states and local governments will share in.

While Chicago will get a sizable chunk of that directly, the Illinois Municipal League has urged the governor to distribute the rest proportionately.

“Congress has turned a blind eye to the economic crisis facing all municipalities and has effectively ignored 1,297 of Illinois’ cities, villages and towns,” IML Executive Director Brad Cole said in a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “[The IML] formally requests any aid received by the state designated for municipal governments be dispersed by your office to all 1,298 cities, villages and towns on a per capita basis so that every community receives the financial help they need to weather this crisis.”

Fitch Ratings Agency analysts said any money state and local governments get from the stimulus will likely only cover additional costs in dealing with the crisis and won’t offset the loss of tax revenue from the government shutdown of nonessential businesses in Illinois, a move the governor said is meant to curb the spread of the virus.

The Illinois Farm Bureau praised the measure from Congress. Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert said it will help “prop up the economic well-being of farmers and support the supply chain.”

“The CARES Act includes funding that will support farmers in two major ways: Funds to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), and additional funds to give [USDA flexibility] to support livestock producers, dairies, and farmers who grow food for local markets,” Guebert said.

The bill also featured another element U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, said he got in, and that would be policies giving individuals the ability to use Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts to purchase over-the-counter medications and menstrual care products.

“People are looking for relief during this time of uncertainty and we must provide them with every tool we can,” LaHood said in a statement Thursday. “I am pleased that legislation I authored will help Illinoisans and Americans, as we work together to combat COVID-19.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said the bill wasn’t perfect and won’t be the last action needed in the fight against COVID-19, but “it’s a strong step towards helping those who are hurting right now and cannot afford to wait.”

“This emergency funding will help make sure hospitals and health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic have the necessary equipment they need to protect themselves and treat patients,” Foster said after the vote. “It will deliver crucial financial help for small businesses that have been devastated and allow them to keep employees on payroll and remain in business.”

After the vote, LaHood said the compromise was not perfect.

“While I have real concerns about some provisions in the bill, as well as the massive amount of deficit spending, I am also worried about delaying support for millions of hurting Americans and the prospect of a costly recession for our country,” LaHood said in a statement after the vote. “No compromise is perfect, and this pandemic requires each of us to put aside our differences and provide relief for Illinoisans and Americans.”


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