Senate GOP Leader John Curran files legislation to bring transparency to Illinois migrant crisis

Springfield, IL…  Members of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus are once again asking for greater fiscal transparency about the Pritzker Administration’s migrant crisis, so lawmakers have a clearer idea about how much is really being spent on state programs for noncitizens.

Illinois Senate Republican Leader John Curran (R-Downers Grove) was joined at a March 7th Capitol press conference by Senator Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley) and Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason) to talk about legislation he is sponsoring to require an annual report to the General Assembly identifying all state spending on services and resources for migrants.

“There is no doubt that Governor Pritzker’s non-citizen welfare policies have exhausted state resources and helped create the largest migrant crisis in the Midwest,” said Illinois Senate Republican Leader John Curran (R-Downers Grove). “Illinois taxpayers deserve to know how much of their money is being spent on Gov. Pritzker’s non-citizen welfare programs before they begin shelling out more than $1 billion in tax increases he proposed to fund this crisis he created.”

Over the last several years, Pritzker has issued numerous emergency declarations, using his executive power and transfer authority to divert funding from existing state programs with little-to-no scrutiny to cover costs associated with the migrant population. Despite repeated inquiries from the Senate Republican Caucus, the Governor’s Administration has failed to answer simple questions about the spending.

“Ultimately, because of the way he’s moving money around with zero transparency, we don’t really know what how much the Governor is spending on the migrant crisis,” said Turner. “If Pritzker is going to ask for $1 billion in new taxes, the people of this state deserve to know how they will be spent.”

Curran’s Senate Bill 3170 would require the Illinois Department of Human Services to work with relevant State agencies, to prepare an annual report to the General Assembly identifying all state spending on services and resources for migrants. It would also be made available to the public on the Department’s website.

The report would include details of services and resources provided by various state entities, including but not limited to the State Board of Education, Department of Human Services, Department of Public Health, Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security, Department of Central Management Services, Department of Labor, and Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

The report is required to include the following information concerning expenditures:

  • Total amount spent on noncitizen and asylum-seeking populations in the previous fiscal year.
  • Specific appropriations authorizing the spending.
  • Any transfers among line-item appropriations associated with noncitizen and asylum-seeking populations.
  • Total number of families or individuals impacted by each service or resource.
  • Funding sources of the service or resource.
  • Contracts awarded to organizations providing services or resources in various categories such as emergency shelter, food, health screenings, legal services, job readiness support, enrollment in public schools, long-term housing, mental health assessments, and other related spending.

Further, the legislation requires the Governor to include a detailed accounting of all proposed spending on non-citizen populations in future state budgets, providing an additional layer of transparency to the people of Illinois.

The legislators argue that as the process of putting a state budget together begins in earnest, it’s critical to know how much is being spent on services for migrants and where the money is coming from.

“On February 20th, Senate Republicans called on Governor Pritzker to release a budget that prioritizes the needs of Illinois citizens over a migrant crisis of his own making,” Syverson said.  “One day later, he delivered a Budget Address that shockingly includes nearly $1 billion in new taxes, to be paid by Illinoisans. To add insult to injury, Pritzker’s proposed budget will spend nearly $1 billion on programs for non-citizens he has encouraged to come to Illinois. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the connection.”

John Curran

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