Illinois Comptroller on COVID-19 Spending, State Budget Deficit


Illinois has spent close to $600 million so far on COVID-19 relief, much of it going to personal protective equipment, or PPE. 

Those dollars will be reimbursed by the federal government through the CARES Act, which has allocated up to $3.5 billion to spend directly on COVID-19 relief in the state.

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Interactive: More from our series, COVID-19 Across Chicago.

But that money can’t make up for lost taxes and other revenues, which Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza says is a huge challenge for the state’s already beleaguered finances. 

“That is where we need the help,” she said. “That $3.5 billion could go towards paying the $1.7 billion hole that was just blown in this year’s budget because of lost tax revenue. Right now we’re not allowed to use it for that, but I’m hoping that the federal guidelines change.” 

Mendoza says the financial damage from the pandemic is staggering, and it will take help from Washington to claw out of it.

“It blew what is likely going to be about a $7 billion bill backlog on top of the $7 billion we had before the pandemic,” Mendoza said. “That’s where we need the federal government’s help.” 

Follow Quinn Myers on Twitter: @rquinnmyers


Covid Across Chicago

How is the novel coronavirus impacting local businesses, residents and social service agencies across the city and region? And how are local leaders handling the crisis? We hit the streets to answer those questions and more in our ongoing reporting series, COVID-19 Across Chicago. See where we’ve been and what we’ve discovered in this overview. Listed is the official Chicago community area with the neighborhood in parenthesis where appropriate.


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