* This post will be updated, of course. Posted in the order they were received. First up, the IFT…
Westmont, Illinois – Following Governor Pritzker’s budget address, Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery released this response.
“Despite the pandemic, Governor Pritzker has made huge strides in moving our state forward. We’re pleased to see that his proposed budget does not rely on increasing taxes or layoffs that would only hurt working families. We support his decision to close corporate tax loopholes to fund vital services and protect our hardest hit.
“When it comes to funding education, the Governor has done the best he can with the dire fiscal hand he has been dealt by COVID and the millionaire-led effort to prevent fair taxation in our state. When Illinois adopted the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) plan, we all hoped education dollars would flow to our neediest communities and the state’s share of education funding would steadily increase. Yet Illinois remains near the bottom of the country in equitable education funding, and for the second year in a row, it will not be increased. And higher education is still suffering from decades-long disinvestment.
“We remain hopeful that Governor Pritzker will increase funding for schools in FY22 if revenue projections continue to improve and that he will fully fund EBF and higher education in future years. The IFT will continue to advocate for additional sources of state revenue and increased funding for schools, colleges, and universities.
“Recovering from the pandemic is vital to Illinois’ economic well-being, and it will take our collective power to make that happen. The IFT stands ready to work with Governor Pritzker to ensure that the recovery is focused on our most vulnerable.”
* Comptroller Mendoza…
Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza released the following statement regarding the governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022:
“Today, the governor presented a cautious but morally responsible plan that recognizes the predicament Illinois finds itself in at this time, without seeking to balance the budget on the backs of working families. I’m pleased he’s prioritizing health care and human services, because they are vital to helping people survive the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The last thing we need right now is to shred our social safety net again to save money. And I’m happy he is keeping his focus on prioritizing repayment of our COVID-related debt. I am optimistic Illinois will get the federal help we so desperately need. As we all know, nearly every dollar coming into Illinois is already spoken for. I hope lawmakers will remember this as they begin budget discussions and work together to pass a responsible budget for the state.”
* I’ll probably post most legislator reacts on the live coverage feed, but here’s Sen. Castro…
State Senator Cristina Castro (D- Elgin) released the following statement following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address:
“This year has been unimaginably difficult for families in Illinois and across the country. As we have adjusted to the new reality, it is important that our state budget focuses on how to best support those who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
“While the budget proposal isn’t perfect and we continue to negotiate how to utilize the funds that we have, I look forward to working with my colleagues to provide stability for residents of our state.”
* Sen. Peters…
Gov. JB Pritzker gave his annual budget and state of the state addresses this morning, after which State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic requires all of us to shift our priorities. The governor’s proposed budget is not perfect, but considering the circumstances, it can’t be. However, it takes into account the realities of our state’s economic and fiscal situations, and it’s a good place to begin the grueling process of drafting our first full budget after the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
“However, I do wish the proposed budget would have made a greater commitment to funding programs that will work to bring safety and justice in our communities. There is a modest increase proposed, but this past year showed us that much more is needed.
“I know we have a lot of work in store for us over the next few months. This may be the most difficult and unique budget in Illinois history, and I know that when it is all said and done, it will be a budget that works for all Illinoisans and that it will go a long way toward making everyone in this state whole.”
* Responsible Budget Coalition…
The Responsible Budget Coalition issued the following statement in response to Governor JB Pritzker’s budget address.
As a coalition of the state’s leading advocacy, human service, community and labor organizations, we judge any budget by these principles: It must contain adequate revenue, fairly raised, and it must avoid cuts to vital programs and services.
We support Governor Pritzker’s call to close corporate tax loopholes and decouple Illinois from unwise federal tax provisions. We also urge the state’s Congressional delegation to join together for significant federal COVID relief that has been blocked for far too long.
“But we are in the middle of a pandemic. Since March of last year, Illinois has seen more than 20,000 people die from COVID-19, record levels of unemployment, dramatic increases in food insecurity, and an explosion of our state’s affordable housing crisis. Black and Latinx people have been disproportionately impacted by sickness, death, and economic hardship,” said Jeremy Rosen, Co-Chair of the Responsible Budget Coalition and Director of Economic Justice at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law. “At a time like this, the State of Illinois needs a budget that makes bold investments to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposed budget simply does not meet this moment.”
The working people of Illinois are fighting to get back on their feet. Cuts to vital programs will hurt not help them. RBC member organizations will work with legislators to identify revenues that can prevent cuts and invest in a more equitable Illinois.
TMA President Steve Rauschenberger issued the following statement today in response to Governor Pritzker’s State of the State Address:
“We heard the governor loud and clear during his State of the State Address—he wasn’t making a plea for unity or a promise of hope for struggling businesses. Instead, the words he spoke today echo his intentions to continue hurting manufacturers who are trying desperately to recover from the pandemic.
The day after voters overwhelmingly rejected his progressive tax in November, the governor responded by threatening the business community for leading the charge against his prized tax hike. Today, he followed through on that threat by proposing a nearly $1 billion tax hike on our small businesses—taking money from our job creators and placing it in the hands of Springfield politicians so they can continue their insatiable spending habits.
This massive tax hike will hurt TMA members as they fight to compete regionally, nationally, and globally, especially eliminating the manufacturing & equipment exemption and the research & development tax credit. Manufacturers can’t afford greater strains imposed by our own government if we’re going to recover from the pandemic’s economic hit. We urge the governor to stop championing policies that will put Illinoisans on the unemployment lines and force our job creators and innovators to leave our state to survive.”
Um, the budget doesn’t eliminate the M&E exemption and R&D credit. Not sure what world he’s living in.
* We Are One Illinois…
We Are One Illinois coalition of unions responds to governor’s budget address
“Illinois faces a budget crater caused by the pandemic and the defeat of the Fair Tax amendment that would have required the very rich to pay their share.
“We support Governor Pritzker’s proposed steps to address the budget shortfall by closing tax loopholes that big corporations exploit at the expense of the people of our state, and by decoupling Illinois from unwise federal tax changes.
“But our communities need essential public services now more than ever. More must be done to invest in schools, health care, public safety, help for the unemployed, for children and seniors, people with disabilities and more.
“Part of the solution lies with Congress. Like every state, city and town, Illinois needs the significant federal assistance found in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
“Further action from Springfield may be needed, as well. As the budget process goes forward, we will work with legislators and the governor to identify revenue-raising measures that can prevent harmful cuts and strengthen our state.”
We Are One Illinois is an unprecedented labor coalition working on behalf of more than over 1 million statewide members.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) released the following statement regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s annual budget address:
“In the midst of a global pandemic that has caused widespread economic disruption, the Governor’s repeated attempts to hike taxes on small businesses and job creators is unacceptable, especially after voters overwhelmingly rejected his last plan to raise taxes. Illinois should be looking for ways to support businesses, create good-paying jobs, and jump-start investment in our communities. Instead, this administration wants to not only hike taxes but also cut job training funds intended to build a skilled workforce. Meanwhile, other states have embraced policies to grow the economy by cutting taxes, reducing regulations and adopting liability protections,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Throughout the pandemic, manufacturers answered our nation’s call by making and donating personal protective equipment, creating life-saving vaccines and therapies, and stocking our grocery stores with safe and nutritious food. The industry stands ready to lead our economic recovery, but it’s imperative the governor and lawmakers work with manufacturers, not against us.”
The Illinois Municipal League (IML) issued the following statement regarding Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address for State Fiscal Year 2022:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to municipalities across Illinois, from revenue shortfalls to additional health and safety costs. While we recognize the need to address the state’s fiscal challenges, additional cuts to the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF), which designates a portion of state income tax revenue to cities and counties, will exacerbate the current challenges communities face. Every dollar cut from LGDF is a dollar added to property taxes or a dollar taken away from much-needed local programs and services.
“Additionally, further cuts to LGDF could result in higher unfunded pension liability costs, all at a time when all aspects of society continue to endure the ongoing pandemic and revenue sources are limited. We urge the Governor and the General Assembly to reverse the cuts made to LGDF over the past several years and support initiatives that promote the wellbeing of our shared constituencies, the residents of Illinois,” said Brad Cole, IML Executive Director.
* SEIU Healthcare…
The following was released by SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley in response to Governor JB Pritzker’s State of the State Address:
CHICAGO – “As a union of over 90,000 essential healthcare workers who have been serving on the frontlines for the entirety of this pandemic, we are grateful for the steps the Governor’s proposed budget would take towards fairer and more equitable revenue sources but also aware that these measures will be insufficient to fund the recovery that the working people of Illinois so desperately need.
“Our members applaud Governor Pritzker’s leadership in his support of closing corporate tax loopholes and decoupling Illinois from ill-advised Federal tax provisions. These are crucial steps in the right direction. But the devastation of this pandemic, and its disproportionate impact on Black, brown and low-income workers and their communities, call upon us to do more. Our members have faced daily risks on the job of getting sick, spreading the virus to those they care for, and also of increased economic insecurity. While rightly being celebrated by many as heroes, they have paid a high price for the essential roles they have played. And they continue to pay that price.
“We must avoid cuts to vital programs and services, as these are more desperately needed now than ever before. But more is still needed—it is time for us to make bold investments in the resources and support structures that will enable a full recovery for all of Illinois—a recovery that includes the essential workers who continue to put their lives on the line every day to provide crucial services to our state’s most vulnerable.”
Tom Hughes, Executive Director of the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA), released the following statement on Wednesday:
“On behalf of the 88 certified local health departments our association represents, we commend the governor for a budget proposal that prioritizes the public’s health and the services needed to protect Illinoisans as we continue to face the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This budget recognizes the importance of those who work on the frontlines to protect the public’s health and safety, including local health departments.
“This pandemic has placed an incredible strain on frontline workers and members of our association who continue to work around the clock to keep Illinoisans safe. It has also further revealed the incredible need for local health officials and professionals to help provide protection on a local level to individual communities and counties. The governor has made tough decisions based in science to help protect the public and save lives, and we thank him for that. We seek to continue to work with him and the Illinois General Assembly to increase funding to local health departments so they can continue their service of protecting the public throughout this pandemic and into the future.”
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address:
“Spurned by the progressive tax defeat last November, Governor Pritzker is taking his anger out on the people of Illinois with his latest budget proposal. Despite a global pandemic that has forced families and businesses to cut costs to survive, Pritzker’s plan, riddled with accounting gimmicks, spends the same record amount as last year at the same time cutting funding for public schools, eliminating scholarships for poor children, and hiking taxes on small businesses. Other than front-line healthcare workers, no one has sacrificed more during the pandemic than small business owners and our school-age children. This budget hits them the hardest. It’s quite simple - Pritzker is a sore loser who has proposed a truly nasty budget.”
* Speaker Welch…
SPEAKER WELCH RELEASES STATEMENT ON BUDGET ADDRESS
“As expected, given the challenges of COVID-19 and the accompanying job loss and business disruption, this year’s budget requires hard decisions by the legislature and the governor. As the governor said, we must always be grounded by equity and empathy.
Today’s address was the first step in a process that involves all of us coming to the table and working line-by-line to build a budget that reflects our priorities: our COVID-19 response, improving operations for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, funding veterans homes, and providing resources for schools and job training efforts. To do this, we need to close corporate tax loopholes that have made it easy for them to avoid paying their fair share.
All said, one thing is clear: we need federal assistance. For the past year, state and local governments have been hit with a host of new expenses as a result of COVID-19, such as testing, mitigation efforts, and vaccine distribution. I’m glad we finally have an administration that takes this seriously and understands that this is not a red versus blue issue.”
The following statement is attributable to Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin:
“We appreciate that the governor is willing to look at a variety of ways to continue the state’s funding obligations by closing tax loopholes rather than increasing taxes on all struggling families and we urge state government to continue to look for more funding resources. Our state legislature made a brave decision in 2017 and changed the formula for funding education in Illinois. Part of that change included boosting education funding by at least $350 million a year for 10 years to try to get the state up to 80 percent of its base funding level required by our state’s constitution – 80 percent – and to try to give Illinoisans property tax relief. And, while we understand there was an economic downturn that caused flat funding last year and a worldwide pandemic this year that caused fiscal challenges, we can’t move forward if we keep holding ourselves back. Funding the formula needs to be high on the list for any new revenue, as does increasing funding for higher education. We hold out hope that as vaccinations increase and cases decrease, the economic outlook for Illinois can continue to improve and education can be funded to the fullest extent.”
Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch released the following statement on Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address.
“The Illinois Chamber is opposed to the massive tax increase proposed by the Governor’s budget plan under the guise of “closing corporate loopholes.” We understand that the state has fiscal problems to address, however, the Governor’s plan will have a long-term negative impact on job creation and tax revenues for the state as it produces an unfair increase on taxpayers after they resoundingly defeated the graduated income tax. This not only will expand what will get taxed, but will also reduce key tax credits for vital sectors of the economy.”
“We know the administration faces a tough fiscal task. However, these tax increase proposals will only paper over our short-term problems but accelerate Illinois’ long-term economic crisis. In particular of the many problems in the Governor’s proposals, a particular concern is the elimination of the single sales factor in assessing Illinois income tax. This misguided proposal has the impact of increasing taxes on Illinois based businesses at a time we can least afford it.”
* Empower Illinois…
Governor Pritzker’s plans to make devastating cuts to Illinois’ Tax Credit Scholarship Program–that serves low-income and working-class families–in addition to withholding required public education funding increases, is harmful to students across Illinois. Making these cuts to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program does not help support those most in need, and scholarships for kids are not “corporate loopholes.”
During this challenging time, kids need more quality education options, not fewer. And while Illinois’ financial challenges are significant, the State should not balance its budget on the backs of children from low-income and working-class communities or the schools that serve them so well.
We are hopeful that the Governor and Illinois General Assembly will come to support the low-income and working-class scholarship families. We are ready to work together to realize this vision.
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) released the following statement regarding Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal:
“Retailers have served a vital role throughout the pandemic, ensuring safe and reliable access to food and supplies to now helping vaccinate the state and nation. Despite immense challenges, including government closures, capacity restrictions, denial of access to PPE, and civil unrest that forced some businesses to rebuild not once but twice, retailers were repeatedly called upon to lead the way. This includes establishing health and safety protocols the government soon followed. While the governor claims he is focused on rebuilding the state’s economy, it is counterintuitive that his first step is to raise costs on businesses by eliminating the retail discount, which only partially reimburses store owners for administering and collecting sales tax on behalf of the state,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “Claiming this change would only impact ‘big’ retailers ignores the fact that it is a partial reimbursement for costs incurred on behalf of the state and attempts to deceive smaller retailers into believing they won’t be touched. Action in other states proves the government will continue to redefine ‘big.” Shifting more of the cost of administration and collection onto retailers does nothing to support struggling businesses and indicates the governor fails to fully appreciate all that retail contributes to our state, which prior to the pandemic employed one-fifth of all workers in Illinois and served as the second largest revenue generator for state government and the largest revenue generator for local governments. As I’ve long said, as goes retail, so goes Illinois.”
* Chicagoland Chamber…
“The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is keenly aware of the many fiscal challenges facing Illinois, ranging from the state’s ever-growing unfunded pension liabilities to a budget that has only worsened due to the pandemic. As the voice for Chicago’s business community, we know first-hand how these challenges have created additional hardships for employers as they struggle to remain open, pay rising property tax bills and employ workers. We will fight for policies and a budget that helps small businesses, creates jobs and provides a pro-growth environment that our state needs for economic recovery.
We will continue to advocate for additional Federal aid to come to Illinois which will help with these immediate budget challenges. In the event it does, we urge Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly to prioritize small businesses and workforce development programs that provide the education, training and resources our businesses need to get people back to work and prepare our workforce for the post-COVID world.
The Chamber stands ready to work with Governor Pritzker and other elected officials to address these challenges, particularly the unfunded pension liabilities, and put in place policies that will ensure the long-term wellbeing of the business community. These policies will welcome new employers to our state and create job opportunities for our residents,” said Jack Lavin, President & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, representing Illinois gas stations and convenience stores, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 as outlined in his speech today:
“At a time when so many small businesses and families they support are teetering and on the brink of disaster, this new Illinois budget proposal would push many over the edge.
“Proposing to close millions of dollars in ‘tax loopholes’ and ending other incentives for businesses that were negotiated just a couple of years ago will undermine any progress we might be able to make in climbing out of the pandemic hole in 2021 if they become law. Make no mistake, these will be tax increases on businesses – and Illinoisans will suffer because of them.
“Particularly concerning for my members is more quickly ending an exemption for the sale of biodiesel at the gas pump, valued at $107 million. This change would add approximately 20 cents to a gallon of diesel fuel and is especially egregious considering that Illinois is one of only six states that already imposes a sales tax on motor fuels. Ending this incentive would also be incredibly damaging to our vital agriculture community in Illinois and hurt my small business members at a time when it’s so easy for customers to drive across state lines to fill up their vehicles.
“Congress created the CARES Act to provide a lifeline of support for businesses across the country after the devastating effects of the pandemic. The Legislature soundly rejected the idea of decoupling from federal tax aid for small businesses during the lame duck session a few weeks ago, but the issue is not dead yet. Now, as businesses are filing their tax returns this spring, this bad idea is even worse and we urge our policymakers to reject it.
“We call on the Governor and legislators to work on a better state budget framework this spring that recognizes the pain caused by the pandemic, and doesn’t add further to the misery many small businesses and families are facing. It’s time to do better.”
* IL Business Alliance…
Jared Carl, president of the Illinois Business Alliance, issued the following statement in response to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address today:
“Today, Gov. Pritzker attempted to pay lip service to the Illinois businesses community. His actions tell a different story.
“Pritzker’s time as governor marks one of the most negative business climates in Illinois history. In the spring of 2020, Pritzker ordered Illinois businesses closed. Many remain closed today, and some will never reopen. The price of Pritzker’s actions was demonstrated in Illinois’ high unemployment rates. At its peak last year, unemployment topped 1 million; today, too many Illinoisans remain unemployed.
“Pritzker’s budget banks on skimming nearly $1 billion from the business community through a variety of measures. But make no mistake: No matter what Pritzker calls it, forcing businesses to send more money to Springfield is a tax increase.
“Voters soundly rejected Pritzker’s last attempt to raise taxes on businesses when they voted down the graduated income tax amendment on the November ballot. The message then was as loud and clear as it is today: Illinoisans don’t want to send the state government more money.
“Instead of raising taxes on businesses, Pritzker and state lawmakers should focus on reopening the economy and addressing the long-standing and systemic problems with Illinois’ finances. The state’s budget was in terrible shape long before the pandemic due to decades of fiscal mismanagement, unaffordable pension costs and corruption. These long-standing problems are where the governor should have focused today.”
The Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC) released the following statement on Wednesday following Governor J.B. Pritzker’s budget address:
“On behalf of the thousands of seniors and people with disabilities that we are entrusted to protect, we commend the governor for presenting a Fiscal Year 2022 budget that holds human services level and protects 3.2 million Illinoisans on Medicaid during the worst global health crisis in modern history,” said Karin Zosel, Executive Director of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition. “We plan to work further with the Illinois General Assembly and administration to help craft and implement a budget based on the governor’s recommendations that will protect our most vulnerable residents. We thank the governor for his efforts to do so and look forward to working together to make Illinois the leading state nationwide in care for our aging population and those with disabilities.”
* Senate President Harmon…
Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement on Gov. JB Pritzker’s proposed budget:
“This proposal is a good-faith effort by the governor to both recognize our state’s financial realities and honor our commitments and priorities.
“Coming out of this pandemic, we need to get people back to work. Our first priority with any tax incentive needs to be jobs for hardworking Illinoisans.
“So, I think it’s fair to ask what the hardworking taxpayers of Illinois are getting in return for these corporate tax breaks. It’s entirely appropriate to put some of these incentives under the microscope to see what works and get rid of what doesn’t.
“Senate Democrats, however, are always interested in finding resources for education. I suspect this year will be no different.”
Illinois farmers grow sustainable and high-quality soybeans that provide feed, fuel and food for Illinois and the world. As part of the sustainable cycle of soybean production, a major byproduct is soy-based biodiesel. Biodiesel is a direct alternative to petroleum-based diesel and is cleaner burning with up to 80 percent lower carbon emissions per gallon. Illinois uses 180 million gallons of biodiesel each year, returning an estimated value of $600 million to Illinois’ family farms annually. Since 2003, Illinois has been using B11 and higher biodiesel blends, supported by the exemption of those fuels from state sales tax. This policy for a homegrown Illinois product has made our state a national leader in using cleaner burning fuels and improving air quality.
Today, Governor Pritzker proposed the elimination of the sales tax exemption that has resulted in enhanced biodiesel utilization and cleaner air. Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is committed to clean fuel and supports HB229 which continues Illinois’ leadership in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and instituting the statewide use of B20 and higher blends. ISG commits to continued discussion with Governor Pritzker and cleaner fuel advocates to reconcile the proposals in a way that enhances the use of biodiesel in Illinois for improved air quality outcomes.
Today, ISG Chairman, Doug Schroeder, a soybean farmer from Mahomet, Ill., releases the following statement: “As a farmer who understands that there are markets around the world for my crop, I am always reminded of the value that biodiesel has right here at home. Biodiesel adds value to my farm, my community, and my state. This last year and COVID-19 have put extra attention on air quality for all Illinoisans. Sustaining our use of B11 at a minimum and moving to B20 and higher biodiesel blends helps in promoting an Illinois product, all while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. I look forward to continuing the conversation, and working with all partners to use more biodiesel to improve our economy and public health.”
* Speaker Pro Tempore Gordon-Booth…
State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, issued the following statement after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address:
“Illinois needs a balanced, fair budget that helps our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and that invests in building stronger families, stronger neighborhoods and stronger schools. As the highest-ranking legislator from downstate Illinois, I will fight to make sure that we receive our fair share of funding for COVID-19 relief, community development, education and job training. Even as we face a tough budget outlook, we must continue to prioritize these critical investments. Crafting a fair and responsible budget will not be easy, but I am confident that by working together, the legislature and the governor can put families first in a fiscally responsible manner.”
* llinois House Legislative Black Caucus Chair Kam Buckner…
“This isn’t the first time Illinois has faced tough budget decisions and it won’t be the last, but I am committed to ensuring that we continue to invest in our future by protecting education funding and supporting job training and development. Especially as we work to recover and build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot turn our backs on programs that protect children, families and seniors.
“A budget that is balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable Illinoisans is not a budget that will work for our state, morally or fiscally. Even with the difficulty the state faces, I am confident that legislators can craft a balanced budget that is fair and responsible while prioritizing critical needs including COVID-19 relief, jobs and schools.”
* Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition…
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition appreciates the unforeseen and unprecedented challenges the state is working hard to overcome. We’re all in this together. COVID is new, but the climate crisis not. In fact, the pandemic has only exacerbated many of the problems the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) would solve.
But in an 11-page speech, Governor Pritzker spent less than one sentence talking about how clean energy can create equitable jobs, lower bills, and hold utilities accountable. He says it’s time to get to work … when? It’s past time.
Eduardo and his neighbors in Waukegan have been breathing in toxic pollution for their entire lives - and it’s even more dangerous during this pandemic. They can’t afford to wait any longer.
Gina is a 4th generation SE Sider, activist, and mother who has experienced disinvestment for years, and these communities are especially vulnerable to COVID. Environmental justice communities like hers can’t wait.
Michelle started a successful clean energy business in Springfield, but the lack of action at the state level has made it extremely difficult for them to grow. We should be supporting small businesses right now, not leaving them behind.
Other Governors have managed to address the climate crisis and confront this historic pandemic. We can do that in Illinois, too. #CEJACantWait
* Leader McConchie…
“Unfortunately, the governor continued the budget gimmicks of his predecessors and ignored his constitutional responsibility to present a budget within current revenues,” said Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods). “By skipping out on the hard work of reform, he is continuing to punt on those fundamental changes so necessary to put Illinois on a stable financial path.
“Instead, the governor proposes to balance the budget by taking money away from roads and bridges, levying tax increases on employers during the pandemic, removing incentives designed to create blue collar jobs, and seeking to repeal recent efforts to revitalize the manufacturing industry in Illinois.
“This continues to show just how out of touch he is with how Illinois families live and operate. It is my sincere hope that the governor will rethink this proposal and work with the legislature to come up with a plan that will actually move our state forward.”
* Catholic Conference…
The proposal by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to slash the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship program reduces the most effective state program for low-income and working-class students in Illinois. Even during the pandemic, scholarship recipients have been attending high-quality, nonpublic schools. Students at Catholic schools have been learning in-person since August and have surpassed nationally-certified benchmarks. This is the time to expand the program so that more low-income and working-class students can attain educational achievement that will lead to a successful future.
We urge the governor to reconsider and work towards expanding educational opportunities instead of restricting them.
– Following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address, Tim Egan, board member of the Illinois Association of Safety Net Community Hospitals (ASNCH) and President and CEO of Roseland Community Hospital, released the following statement on Wednesday:
“As safety net hospitals, we serve as frontline healthcare providers to some of the most vulnerable populations in Illinois, who often have no other place to turn for their care. Today, we are encouraged by the Governor’s words about communities of disinvestment and the actions taken by the Governor and his administration to help remedy and reinvest in those vulnerable communities when they need it more than ever.
“Safety net hospitals are the both the economic and healthcare anchors of minority communities and have faced incredible challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This health crisis has laid bare what safety net providers have said for many years: that access to care is dependent on the color of one’s skin and their financial resources. The time has come and passed for this to end.
“We are pleased to see a budget proposal that makes the proper investments in healthcare and services so that providers like us can continue to serve the at-risk populations that need us. We now implore the Illinois General Assembly to follow the governor’s proposal and to ensure that hospitals and providers are able to continue to provide care to any person that needs it in our state. This begins with making investments in healthcare in under-resourced, minority communities, which have been divested in for decades.”
“We thank the Governor for the tough decisions he has made throughout this pandemic to save lives, and look forward to working together with him to ensure that everyone in Illinois has access to quality healthcare, no matter their race or the amount of money they have.”
* Climate Jobs Illinois…
Climate Jobs Illinois today applauded Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s call for a clean energy bill that preserves Illinois’ nuclear fleet and expands the state’s wind and solar industries. But the labor coalition stressed that any energy legislation must include strong labor standards to create true economic opportunities for Illinois families.
“Gov. Pritzker is right to prioritize clean energy legislation this year that preserves the state’s nuclear fleet as part of a comprehensive plan to transition Illinois toward a clean energy economy,” said CJI Executive Director Joe Duffy. “However, any clean energy legislation must put Illinois’ working families first and include comprehensive labor standards so these new clean energy jobs provide a path to the middle class, especially for communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.”
Among Climate Jobs Illinois’ policy recommendation to move Illinois to a 100% clean energy economy is to stabilize the state’s nuclear plants to ensure adequate baseload availability from clean energy sources and to save 24,000 jobs in communities that rely heavily on the tax revenue generated by these plants to fund education and critical local government services.
The union coalition has proposed including the Braidwood, Byron, Dresden and LaSalle nuclear plants in the Zero Emission Standard (ZES) program and adopting the Fixed Resource Requirement process, or a similar process that allows the nuclear fleet to remain competitive in future capacity auctions. Currently, only the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants are included in the program and receive zero emission credits (ZECs), which compensate for the environmental benefits of carbon-free energy generation.
* U of I…
Under the fiscal year 2022 budget proposed today by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, funding for the University of Illinois System would remain flat, matching the state appropriation for the current fiscal year. The governor also recommended a $28 million increase for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides financial aid to support Illinois students, including thousands across the U of I System’s universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.
The governor’s budget proposal also reauthorizes all capital funding initially approved in fiscal 2020 for bricks-and-mortar projects across the system, including funds for development of the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN). In December, DPI and IIN received about $142 million in the first round of funding from $500 million in capital funds approved for the initiatives.
“We are grateful for Gov. Pritzker’s support of higher education and increased funding for MAP grants during these historically difficult times, with state revenues strained by an ongoing global pandemic,” said Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System. “We hope the legislature adopts his spending plan, and approves funding to support the students, faculty and staff whose talents will help move Illinois beyond the current crisis and into a bright, prosperous future.”
“We are also grateful for the governor’s continued support of capital funding to ensure our facilities match the excellence of our world-class academic programs. His support for DPI and IIN is building a pioneering education and research enterprise that will move Illinois, the Midwest and our nation forward, creating the jobs and businesses of tomorrow.”
* Sen. Hastings…
Following Governor JB Pritzker’s annual budget address, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) offered the following statement:
“The proposal outlined by Governor Pritzker today is just the start of what will certainly be a challenging negotiation process. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our people with generational economic challenges, and there is no question that this is going to be an incredibly difficult year for the state of Illinois. That is why our focus must be providing critical services to the people we represent, improving the unemployment system, assisting small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and putting people back to work through investment in infrastructure projects.
This is going to be a delicate budget making process, but the situation we find ourselves in calls for a reassessment of how we spend money in Illinois. I look forward to working to implement a budget that tightens the state’s belt, restricts reckless spending, and puts us back on track.”
Governor Pritzker’s budget plan for the 2022 fiscal year provides Illinois with a path forward. While we will need to review all the details in greater depth before taking a position on this plan, it appears to maintain vital services, continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic and meets the state’s pension obligations. In addition, we’re pleased to note that the governor has rejected the calls from some quarters to place an unfair burden on state employees in addressing the state’s fiscal challenges.
Illinois faces steep budgetary challenges for two reasons: the defeat of the Fair Tax constitutional amendment—which would have allowed higher tax rates for the wealthy—and the devastation of the COVID pandemic that has battered every state.
To overcome these challenges, everyone must do their part.
For big corporations, the time for tax loopholes is over. We strongly support Governor Pritzker’s call to end these unfair special deals. Profitable corporations should not get tax giveaways when so many working people have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay their bills.
For Congress, significant COVID relief to states is long overdue. Approve the American Rescue Plan that President Biden has put forward.
For Illinois legislators, consider additional revenue measures. Ideas already employed by neighboring states can help stabilize our state’s finances.
For our union, AFSCME members in the public service will continue to serve their communities as they have throughout the pandemic, despite the risk to themselves and their families. We stand ready to work with the governor’s office to find efficiencies and innovative approaches that can save money in state operations.
Finally, for Republican leaders who worked to defeat the Fair Tax, it’s time to accept responsibility. The depth of the budget shortfall stems from their crusade to defeat the Fair Tax amendment, yet for months they have offered nothing but empty criticism combined with periodic calls to cut the pay of state workers. Now they oppose ending loopholes for big business, without putting forward a single, sensible alternative to help close the state’s budget gap.
The following statement on Governor JB Pritzker’s FY 2022 budget can be attributed to Illinois Association for Behavioral Health CEO Jud DeLoss:
“During the 2018 gubernatorial election, Governor Pritzker campaigned on his support for mental health and addiction treatment, and he has kept his promise. The governor’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget provides a 22% increase in addiction treatment and a 3% bump for mental health services, and this money will be crucial to fight the opioid overdoses breaking records in counties such as Cook, DuPage, Lake and elsewhere in the state in 2020 and to address the surging mental health needs triggered during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is good news in a bad news budget year.”
The following statement on Governor JB Pritzker’s FY 2022 budget can be attributed to Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Inc. (TASC) CEO Pamela Rodriguez:
“Despite the gaping, $3 billion, pandemic-driven Illinois budget hole, Governor JB Pritzker was able to preserve core addiction treatment and case management services in his Fiscal Year 2022 budget needed for individuals in the criminal justice system who are working to rebuild their lives on exiting prison or who are being diverted from incarceration by participating in treatment as an option. The governor deserves credit for keeping core services intact.”