sims 013023CHICAGO — State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. — the Senate’s chief budget negotiator — led efforts that allowed Illinois to repay the remaining $1.36 billion unemployment insurance Trust Fund debt.

This plan was the right thing to do for businesses, labor organizations and everyday Illinoisans,” said Sims (D-Chicago), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. I want people to know that if they need temporary help providing for their families, no matter the reason, Illinois has their back.”

The payment was made possible after a historic agreement was reached between the state, and representatives from business, labor, and bipartisan members of the General Assembly. Smart spending decisions and balanced budgets of recent years led by Sims put the state on track to be able to make the payment.

In addition to the repayment of the federal loan, which was necessary to supplement the state's Trust Fund to ensure payment of unemployment insurance benefits during the pandemic, the plan also has allocated $450 million to be placed into the Trust Fund from state funds as an interest-free loan. As the loan is repaid over the next ten years, funds will be deposited directly into the state's Rainy Day Fund.

“Paying down debt is the fiscally responsible move that could lead to another credit upgrade,” said Sims. “We have provided a sense of security for Illinois residents, including current and retired state workers and their families.”