Gov. Pritzker pushes back state income tax filing deadline as coronavirus claims three more lives in Illinois

Illinois Republicans had been pressuring the Democratic governor for a tax-filing delay. The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced on Saturday that the federal income tax filing due date will be automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

SHARE Gov. Pritzker pushes back state income tax filing deadline as coronavirus claims three more lives in Illinois
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, along with elected and health officials, delivers the daily briefing on the COVID-19 epidemic last week.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, along with elected and health officials, delivers the daily briefing on the COVID-19 epidemic last week.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday said he’s heeding the many calls from Illinois residents worried about paying their taxes amid job losses and instability caused by the coronavirus outbreak and will delay next month’s state income tax filing deadline.

Illinois Republicans were also pressuring the Democratic governor for a delay after the federal government pushed back its deadline over the weekend.

“I am proud to announce an important new measure to support our residents and most small businesses, and to soften the immediate economic impact of this moment,” Pritzker said at his Wednesday briefing. “Illinois will delay our tax deadline from April 15 to July 15, aligning our tax day with the federal government’s and giving our millions of taxpayers three additional months to file their individual returns.”

Pritzker’s delay also includes tax payments. About 3.4 million Illinoisans have already filed their tax returns, and the state is still processing refunds for those who file ahead of the new deadline.

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced on Saturday that the federal income tax filing due date will be automatically extended from April 15 to July 15.

Illinois officials also on Wednesday announced the deaths of three more people from the coronavirus. So far, 19 people have died from the outbreak in Illinois.

An additional 330 cases have been added to the state’s total, bringing the Illinois tally to 1,865 cases in 35 counties. Ages of those afflicted range from an infant to 99 years. Those cases include two correctional officers and one man incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, as well as a contractual worker at Sheridan Correctional Center. The two correctional officers are in isolation at home, while the inmate is in a hospital, the department said.

Both Stateville and Sheridan have been placed on a 14-day lockdown, with anyone who may have been exposed at Stateville being quarantined, the department said.

The governor also announced three programs for small businesses to access a share of $90 million in state emergency assistance, beginning on Friday. Additionally, Pritzker said he’s reached out to national mortgage companies to ask for a multi-month forbearance. The governor also has reached out to the three national credit bureaus, asking them not to lower residents’ credit ratings during this time.

A small business emergency loan fund will include $60 million in low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in every industry outside of Chicago. Businesses with less than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue last year are eligible, and would owe nothing for six months and then pay fixed payments at 3% interest, the governor’s office said.

Another $20 million program will be used to support small businesses in suburban and rural counties across Illinois, providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses. And a $14 million grant program will help small hospitality businesses make ends meet, providing up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

Speaking at the daily briefing, Michael Jacobson, president of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, said hotels over the past month were projected to have an occupancy rate of 70%. They’re now in the teens or single digits.

“The damage is worse than the impacts of 9/11 and the 2008 recession combined,” Jacobson said.

But Jacobson encouraged small hotel owners to explore eligibility for relief funds that Pritzker is offering for small businesses. Jacobson said, so far, 20,000 hotel rooms in Illinois are being used for housing healthcare workers, first responders and for hospital overflow.

The White House and U.S. Senate on Wednesday struck a major deal on a $2 trillion package, making it the largest emergency aid package the nation has seen. It includes direct payment to Americans and help with unemployment and to small businesses.

Pritzker — who has been critical of the federal response to coronavirus — said he hopes to see passage of the package as soon as possible.

“My expectation is that people at the federal government level want to do the right thing,” Pritzker said. “We’re continuing to protect the people of the state of Illinois, and I’m going to do whatever it takes, frankly, to get that job done. And sometimes, when I have to be critical in order to get something done, I’m going to be doing that.”

Also on Wednesday. Democratic U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth sent a letter to President Donald Trump to try to bolster Pritzker’s request for a federal disaster declaration in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Illinois has requested assistance for all 102 counties in the state. The federal declaration would give Illinois access to more federal benefits.

Beyond the financial and health impact of the pandemic, Pritzker on Wednesday was asked about the emotional toll the outbreak is taking on his own administration.

A day prior, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who has appeared next to Pritzker for 17 consecutive daily briefings, became emotional when announcing the latest fatalities — noting that many families can’t mourn their loved ones in a world of social distancing.

”It is hard. I’m a doctor. I’m a mother, and I just buried my father last month,” the Illinois Public Health Department chief responded with tears in her eyes. “And so when I think about people who can’t do what I did for my father last month, I feel it very real, as to what people are going through and the sacrifices they are making.”

Pritzker, himself, said, “We’re all holding up just fine.” He detailed that a close friend and members of the friend’s family all have fevers and symptoms of coronavirus.

”All of us, I think, are aware of how serious this situation is and are touched by somebody, somebody at work, somebody at home, somebody in your life, no doubt, that has contracted this or is affected by it,” Pritzker said. “So I appreciate the concern.”

The Latest
The man, believed to be between 40 and 50 years old, was found unresponsive in the middle of police by responding officers.
The man, 39, was shot about 1:50 a.m. in the 400 block of East Erie Street, police said.
Voting, supporting election workers and fighting back against the Big Lie are part of saving our “grand experiment.”
Officials responded to a call of multiple people shot about 12:20 a.m. in the 6500 block of South Martin Luther King Drive.
We cannot live together as a community unless we accord others the same respect we ask for ourselves.