How will Illinois spend $7.5 billion in federal funding?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Governor J.B. Pritzker sat down for a one-on-one interview on Monday and signaled how the state might spend the $7.5 billion in the ‘American Rescue Plan.’

“We’ve got to be responsible about how we use those dollars, and we’ve got to pay down the debts that we incurred as a result of Coronavirus,” Pritzker said in an interview set to air on Sunday.

“That’s really much of the purpose of those dollars. We of course, have MLF borrowing from the federal government that we need to repay,” he said, referring to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility.

When you include short-term and emergency borrowing with the state’s stack of unpaid bills, Illinois owes more than $9.5 billion in debt to vendors and creditors, according to the Comptroller’s website.

“So that’s what I want to make sure that we do with the dollars,” Pritzker said, adding that, “We also need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to put people back to work. So some of the dollars that are available to us will be used for that we have got to overcome the ill effects of this virus.”

Pritzker also discussed other pressing political headlines, such as his own re-election, and the political fate of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) stopped short of calling on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign in the wake of scandals that have rocked his administration.

While Pritzker stopped short of calling on Cuomo to resign, he said he supports a “thorough investigation,” believes the women accusing Cuomo of harassment and misconduct “should be listened to,” and suggested the Albany legislature may decide to remove him from office.

“A decision needs to get made in New York by the people of New York, by the people in the legislature in New York, whether or not Governor Cuomo should stay in office,” Pritzker said.

When asked if he plans to run for re-election in 2022, Pritzker said, “that’s not something I’m thinking about right now.”

Pritzker discussed several other topics, including the state’s sluggish job growth and lagging economy, his handling of the Coronavirus, the state’s recent surge in crime, his push to end corporate tax breaks in this year’s budget, and much more.

The full one-on-one interview with air on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on Capitol Connection.