The state budget, approved earlier this month and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday, includes $75 million for a hotel job recovery program and another $50 million for a restaurant employment and stabilization support program. The new state budget total includes $125 million in federal taxpayer aid to assist Illinois’ hotel business, which was detrimentally affected by economic constraints during the COVID-19 spread.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, both sectors were severely impacted by a lack of tourists to the state as a result of Pritzker’s measures.
When compared to 2019, the hotels and lodging industry’s revenue fell by 44% in 2020. According to EnjoyIllinois.com, the restaurant business likewise suffered a 49 % reduction in income from the prior year.
Michael Jacobson of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association stated that the state authorized $2.7 billion in federal COVID-19 funding to help pay off part of the $4.5 billion in unemployment debt, but that there is still $1.8 billion in debt.
“Our two major asks were the hotel jobs recovery and the unemployment insurance trust fund,” Jacobson said. “I know there is more still to be done, we still have left a pretty good-sized hole.”
If the unemployment debt is not handled, taxpayers will pay interest, and the remaining debt will be paid through greater corporate taxes and reduced unemployment benefits.
In the budget, lawmakers moved the timeframe for reaching an agreement from July 5 to January 1, 2023.
The budget also includes $50 million for the food and beverage industries. This will take the form of specialized subsidies for restaurants and taverns, as well as a one-year remission of state retailer liquor licensing payments.