Coronavirus Illinois: Updated COVID-19 death toll nears 1K, 25K cases total; Illinois faces $2.7B budget shortfall due to pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor Pritzker said Wednesday that it doesn't take an epidemiologist to know that the pandemic is going to hit the state budget hard as he shared the harsh realities of the state's financial future.

Coronavirus in Illinois: Latest news on COVID-19 cases, Chicago area impact

The virus' impact on the state's budget is becoming more clear as Illinois health officials announced 80 deaths Wednesday, a slight uptick from the day before. A total of 948 Illinois residents have now lost their lives to COVID-19.

Officials also announced an additional 1,346 COVID-19 cases, bringing the state total to 24,593.

WATCH: Gov. JB Pritzker addresses COVID-19's financial impact on Illinois
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Watch Gov. JB Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike's opening remarks during the COVID-19 update on April 15, 2020.



"Budget experts estimate that Illinois will have a $2.7 billion shortfall of revenues for this fiscal year and a $4.6 billion shortfall for next fiscal year," Gov. Pritzker said.

The financial impact of the stay-at-home order has drastically cut sales tax revenues with so many restaurants and businesses closed, along with the loss of gambling revenue from casinos.

Pritzker added that other states are facing similar budget shortfalls, regardless of political affiliation or how fast or slow the state's leadership moved to implement social distancing measures.

"This is a public health crisis, but it's accompanied by massive economic disruption that's unprecedented in modern history," Gov. Pritzker said.

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The governor said his graduated income tax, on the ballot for November may be more important the ever.

"Our total budgetary gap for fiscal year 2021 is $6.2 billion," Gov. Pritzer said. "And if in November the graduated income tax system doesn't pass, that budgetary gap will expand to $7.4 billion."

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Republicans are wary of any new tax, but joined the governor with a plea to the federal government.

"I think we need to push in a bipartisan way," said State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, House Budget Negotiator. "Push for more flexibility from the federal government to be able to use the money that they've allocated to the state of Illinois, to be able to mitigate some of those effects."

Currently the money from the CARES Act - the federal stimulus bill - can only be used for COVID-19-related expenses and not to cover any state budget shortfalls.

Gov. Pritzker has asked state agency directors to look for any efficiencies and budget cuts they can make. He also said the state has secured $1.2 billion in short-term loans in order to cover what is a $1 billion revenue shortfall from Tax Day being pushed back to July 15.

WATCH: Illinois residents demand state cancel ban on rent control

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Millions of Illinois taxpayers don't have money to shift around, and without income to cut a rent check they're demanding the state cancel the ban on rent control.



But millions of Illinois taxpayers don't have money to shift around, and without income to cut a rent check, they're demanding the state cancel the ban on rent control.

"It can only be lifted by the state legislature, in a vote by the state legislature," Gov. Pritzker said.

With an immediate massive hole in the state budget that will only grow, Illinois is begging Congress for cash.

"It is absolutely critical Congress pass another stimulus bill to assist states and territories through this crisis," Gov. Pritzker said. "This is about the continuity of the essential services that give people a real chance."

Gov. Pritzker said he intends to keep his promise that the state will not go without a budget, even though he is aware it will require some tough decisions. Another tough decision he said he will be making in the coming weeks will be how long to extend the stay-at-home order.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a hotline at 1-800-889-3931. More information can be found at the IDPH website and the Chicago Department of Public Health website

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