* Press release…
Moments ago, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered his annual budget address, where he outlined his priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. While Gov. Pritzker’s proposal would increase funding for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants and make other worthy investments, it did not include funding for campus mental health programs through the Mental Health Early Action on Campus (MHEAC) Act — legislation he signed into law just months ago.
Following Gov. Pritzker’s address, Erin Steva, Midwest Regional Director for Young Invincibles, released the following statement:
“With the state facing tough decisions and massive budget shortfalls, Illinois young people are looking to Gov. Pritzker to chart a path toward prosperity by investing in the resources they need to build a stable, financially-secure life. There are certainly worthy investments in the Governor’s proposed budget. We applaud the Governor for proposing increasing MAP grants, expanding apprenticeship opportunities across the state, and restoring a health care navigator program to help Illinoisans enroll in affordable health coverage.
However, it’s clear that any path to economic prosperity requires further investments in the next generation of Illinoisans — particularly Illinois’ most underserved young adults. Though Gov. Pritzker’s address supported expanded mental health services, his budget completely misses the mark in one area that desperately needs reform: campus mental health services.
Just months after signing a bill into law that would expand mental health resources on college campuses across the state, Gov. Pritzker’s budget fails to fund those programs, denying young people the mental health resources they need to stay healthy and succeed inside and outside the classroom. We understand the financial challenges facing the state, but failing to invest in this preventative measure is penny wise, pound foolish. Students with mental illnesses are twice as likely to drop out of college than those without, and we must ensure every student has the support they need to complete their education.
So while we share the Governor’s enthusiasm for the increase in college applications and college affordability, we must also ensure students can complete their education. That requires an investment in their mental well-being and a commitment to making mental health treatment affordable and accessible for every student.”
* Press release…
Majority Leader Greg Harris released the following statement Wednesday after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address:
“The governor’s budget proposal is an important starting point in a process that will require many tough decisions. We look forward to working with the governor and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass an on-time balanced budget that lives within our means, funds critical services, helps stabilize state finances, and continues to build a stronger Illinois.
“House Democrats applaud Governor Pritzker’s commitment to joining us in making Illinois the best place in the country to raise a family, strengthening education, repairing the social safety network, and making our communities safer and our justice system fairer – as well as the governor’s recognition that achieving these important goals starts with a balanced budget.”
* Press release…
Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks released the following statement after Governor Pritzker’s budget address today:
“Governor Pritzker has once again followed through on his promise to propose a balanced budget for our state, and Vote Yes For Fairness applauds his work to move Illinois towards fiscal sustainability after mismanagement by previous administrations.
“While this year’s proposed budget uses budgetary reserves to stay balanced if the Fair Tax does not pass, it’s likely that next year’s budget would either raise taxes on all Illinoisans by 20% or significantly slash spending on education, health care, public safety, and other critical services.
“That’s why Illinois must change its tax system from the outdated, failing system we currently have to a Fair Tax system like the one the federal government and a majority of states employ. By asking the wealthiest Illinoisans to pay their share, the Fair Tax would generate billions of dollars in additional revenue that would go toward funding critical programs Illinoisans rely on, including our schools.
“A balanced budget is important for our state’s fiscal health, but nothing has the potential to change the trajectory of our state like passing the Fair Tax does. The path forward for Illinois is clear – it’s time to pass the Fair Tax, which will ensure 97% of Illinoisans see no tax increase and generate additional revenue to make our state the home all our residents deserve.”
* Press release…
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) issued the following statement regarding Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Annual Budget Address:
“This budget proposal demonstrates a lack of financial discipline that should raise questions about the wisdom of changing the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax. Not only does this plan rely on questionable savings, it also escalates spending at a level that the state simply cannot afford, even if the graduated income tax were adopted,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “At some point, Illinois must get serious about fiscal discipline. As we have done repeatedly in the past, IRMA will work with the General Assembly and Administration, to the extent they are willing, to address the challenges that impact us all.”
* Press release…
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) released the following statement regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s annual budget address:
“Illinois manufacturers remain committed to working with Governor Pritzker and lawmakers to enact policies that create jobs, invest in our workforce and drive economic growth. Unfortunately, this budget proposal is built around a massive income tax increase on Illinois employers and families who are looking for meaningful reforms, property tax relief and fiscal restraint,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Illinois is an amazing state with many innate advantages, but the exodus of taxpayers will only grow worse if elected officials continue to pile higher taxes and costly regulations on job creators every single year.”
* Press release…
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address:
“Illinois’ fiscal crisis demands urgent action and serious solutions. Today, the only thing Governor Pritzker offered was new spending proposals and a false choice between the progressive income tax and devastating cuts. It’s disingenuous for the Governor to attempt to scare the public into voting for higher taxes to plug our budget hole and then turn around and advocate for new spending - in the same speech.
The Governor promises the progressive income tax will do a few things, including filling our nearly $3 billion dollar structural deficit, paying down the backlog of bills, and providing a tax cut for 97% of Illinoisans - all while providing property tax relief for everyone. Add into the picture that the Governor proposed over $10 billion dollars in new spending during the campaign, and it’s clear the progressive income tax and it’s currently proposed rates are a Trojan horse for California-style marginal tax rates and massive middle class tax hikes.
Any budget address or solution that stops short of proposing substantive reforms to our pension mess is an unserious attempt at papering over our fiscal disaster with accounting gimmicks and false promises. Illinoisans deserved to hear from a courageous Governor willing to make tough budgetary decisions today. Instead, they heard from a politician hiding behind scare tactics and impossible promises.”
* Press release…
Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement on Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address.
“The Illinois Chamber is encouraged by the governor’s budget plan, as it produces a balanced budget without increasing taxes by $3.6 billion, which would be triggered by the passage of a progressive tax scheme. By prudently holding down spending – through the $1.4 billion “hold”, the administration has made it clear to Illinoisans that another ruinous tax increase is unnecessary. We also call on the governor and the legislature to enact pro-growth policies that will increase tax revenues through economic growth without increasing tax rates.”
* Press release…
State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) released the following statement regarding Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address on February 19th:
“I have said it before, but it still rings true: until the Democrats curb their insatiable appetite for spending, Illinois will not be financially stable. We cannot keep taxing our way into new revenues; we need to structurally change spending. The most disturbing part of the Governor’s address was that he based his budget proposal on new spending. We cannot plan on hypotheticals. That is the root of the problem, and until we actually change this, we will not move forward.
What’s worse, is that the Governor is underselling our current revenues. Growth is extremely important for our businesses and the economy at large—we have record revenue growth right now and that should be recognized and used to pay down our debts. The high costs of living in Illinois are driving families and businesses out of our state. The State of Illinois is continuing to lose young people and high-income earners. I wanted to hear something in the Governor’s address that spoke to those factors, which really matter when we are talking about producing a balanced budget. Instead, the Governor is raising taxes and barely touching pensions.
Last year, the Governor proposed skipping pension payments in his budget address. This year’s address wasn’t much different. It was not a serious proposal to tackle the state’s biggest issue. Our pension debt is serious and it will continue to build until we address it.”
* Press release…
The Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) is thanking Governor Pritzker after committing more funds to care for thousands of youth in Illinois for the second straight year, but Illinois’ largest child provider voice warns it will take a recommitment over years to fix the state’s shattered child welfare system.
“We are grateful to Governor Pritzker for his ongoing commitment to better support our youth who have been abused or neglected and hope the General Assembly agrees, but the monumental child welfare problems we face today were created over decades and will take a renewed commitment like this every single year if we truly want to fix a system in critical condition,” said ICOY Chief Executive Officer Andrea Durbin.
Today, more than 18,500 Illinois children are in state care after being removed from their homes and thousands more are receiving supportive services. The Governor’s own budget projection indicates the trend in caseloads is rising with DCFS projecting that 22,000 children will be in state care at the end of FY21, with another 4,400 receiving intact family services.
In theory, Illinois law requires the state to provide the same basic protections for children it cares for as a parent would traditionally provide for their own children – ensuring their health, safety, and well-being – while seeking to return them to permanent, loving families as soon as possible.
In practice, Illinois, far too often, fails to hit the mark, leaving many children in jeopardy.
Last year, the General Assembly passed, and Governor Pritzker signed, a budget that included new funding for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)— the first significant new investment into that agency in nearly 20 years. While the funding boost gives some hope for the future, it should be viewed as a down payment for the future rather than an immediate solution to the myriad of problems created from years of underfunding the system.
“As a private citizen, Governor Pritzker’s generous philanthropy and leadership on early childhood education shows a keen understanding of the issues and the importance of solving them. I urge him to continue those efforts as Governor of Illinois and extend that same hope and promise to the children and youth in state foster care,” added Durbin.
* Press release…
The Responsible Budget Coalition issued the following statement in response to Governor JB Pritzker’s Budget Address on February 19, 2020.
“We have worked for more than a decade to ensure our state has a responsible budget. That means investing in our families and communities with adequate revenue that’s fairly raised,” said John Bouman, Chair of the Responsible Budget Coalition and President of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. “Our biggest challenge has always been that the old way of taxing income is unfair and inadequate. It burdens the middle class and lets the rich off easy while forcing harmful cuts to schools, services and jobs.
“To have a truly responsible budget now and in the future, Illinois needs the fair tax constitutional amendment. When we vote Yes this November, working families will get a tax cut, the wealthiest 3% will pay a little more on income above a quarter-million dollars, and the state will gain more than $3 billion a year to invest in our communities.”
The Responsible Budget Coalition specifically commends the Governor for his leadership on the fair tax amendment and for proposing a budget that makes bold new investments in children, education, and human services in order to meet our state’s most basic needs. We urge the Governor and the General Assembly to work together and pass a budget that retains a focus on these critical priorities for Illinoisans.
* Press release…
Statement attributable to Vote No on the Blank Check Amendment Chairman Greg Baise:
“Today, all we heard from the governor was a push for more spending, a massive tax increase and drastic to cuts to vital public services if he doesn’t get his way. Middle class families will not be intimidated by Governor Pritzker’s scare tactics. They understand that a balanced budget does not require handing Springfield politicians a blank check with their hard earned money.”
* And, yes, another press release…
Following Governor Pritzker’s budget address today, Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery released this response:
“After an incredibly productive first year, it was encouraging to hear Governor Pritzker maintain Illinois’s forward momentum.
”The governor remains committed to increasing education funding at all levels. His proposed increase for the Evidence Based Model (EBM) brings our state closer to equitable funding and drives dollars to our neediest K-12 schools. We are also glad to see his proposed increase for public higher education funding to help our still-recovering colleges and universities rebuild and keep more Illinois students in state by making college more affordable.
“The fact that the Governor has made a portion of this budget contingent on the passage of a Fair Tax demonstrates what we have been saying for the past year: passage of the Fair Tax is imperative to the fiscal health of this state. The Fair Tax will ensure our state has the revenue it needs to improve public services and give our students the future they deserve. Not only would the Fair Tax bring in $3.4 billion per year, fix our state’s broken tax system, and fund education and state services, it would do so by simply asking the wealthiest 3 percent of Illinoisans – those who make more than $250,000 per year – to pay their fair share. The rest of us would get a tax cut or see no increase.
“We are also pleased that the governor’s budget accounts for the state making its full pension payment to state retirement systems. For too many years, the state shirked its responsibility to provide retirement security for educators and other public workers. We appreciate that he is committed to ensuring that they receive the benefits they were promised for a lifetime of service.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the governor throughout this session to ensure our state stays on the path he has set to recovery and prosperity.”
* Press release…
Illinois Action for Children (IAFC) applauds Governor Pritzker for his continued commitment to our state’s youngest learners, which was reinforced in today’s state budget address and proposal.
“Illinois is poised to transform its early care and education landscape under this Governor’s administration,” said Maria Whelan, President & CEO of Illinois Action for Children. “Ultimately, it is our collective responsibility to take these opportunities and turn them into what children and families need from us.”
As the Governor revealed his FY 2021 State Budget proposal today, the following ECE-related budget items were outlined:
$100 million increase to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to increase provider rates and reduce parents’ copays
$50 million increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG)
$7 million increase to funding for Early Intervention (EI)
$2 million for DHS-funded Home Visiting
“The early care and education funding in this budget lays a solid foundation for the hard work ahead—but as Governor Pritzker said, more must be done,” said Whelan. “When put into the larger context of the Governor’s creation of the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding, our state must reimagine ECE to ensure that every child in every community has access to the same opportunities and the same start in life.”
Beyond early care and education, the nearly $1.4 billion in appropriations held back in today’s budget proposal highlights the critical need for Illinois to also reimagine how it collects revenue. The Fair Tax that will be on the ballot in November will address Illinois’ structural budget deficit by lifting the burden off lower and middle-income Illinoisans while requiring only those making $250,000 per year to pay more.
* Press release…
The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus released the following statement in response to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address:
“Last year marked a historic moment for working families in Illinois and we’re ready to continue building on that progress by ensuring our communities get their fair share of funding. We are encouraged that the governor’s proposal echoed our values by having investments in education, human services, public safety and ensuring the accurate count of our communities in the 2020 Census. In order to have true equity for all Illinoisans, we need a balanced budget that allocates additional revenue to provide our local schools with more funding than just the minimum that they need to reach adequacy; to make health care and child care more accessible; to invest in affordable housing; and to ensure the safety of our families.
“While we have made great strides to protect immigrant communities, much more remains to be done to provide Illinois with the tools it needs to fight back against our bigoted president. So it is with great urgency that the vacancy in the Office of New Americans is addressed. We look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker to ensure we have an all-inclusive immigrant rights office that works to protect and educate families about their rights as immigrants in this country.”