Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Transportation for Illinois Coalition, SEIU Healthcare, community providers, others criticize budget plan (Updated x2)
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Transportation for Illinois Coalition, SEIU Healthcare, community providers, others criticize budget plan (Updated x2)

Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Transportation for Illinois Coalition…

The Transportation for Illinois Coalition, an umbrella organization of business, labor and infrastructure groups that advocates for federal and state transportation funding, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Pritzker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget plan:

“We are disappointed in and cannot support the Governor’s budget proposal to cut transportation funding after just a few years of Rebuild Illinois’ important investment in our state transportation infrastructure.

The Governor’s proposal calls for the Road Fund to cover $175 million in spending on public transportation operations in the Chicago region that have been historically paid for by the state’s General Revenue Fund. Road Funds are dedicated for road, bridge, and transit capital improvements. We cannot support this proposal and ask the Legislature to reject any plans that pit transportation needs against each other.

The $175 million loss in road funding would multiply to more than a $1 billion impact in lost road and bridge improvements over the next few years. After decades of inadequate funding, Governor Pritzker and the Legislature invested billions of dollars to improve thousands of miles of roads and bridges – including the largest road program in state history this year. Illinois cannot afford to move backward now.

This policy change does not include any new money for transit operations, nor does it fully meet the need for transit operations. What this proposal does is take money away from other transportation needs, making it impossible to deliver on the promise of sustainable transportation for all modes of transportation.

We encourage the Governor and Legislature to develop and support a new state budget that strongly funds all our transportation infrastructure. Rebuild Illinois is working to put our state on a better path, and we must not bring that progress to a halt this summer.”

TFIC Co-Chairs:
Patrick Hosty, Executive Director of the Chicago Laborers District Council-LMCC
Kevin Burke, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association

The full list of the group’s membership is here, and interestingly enough it includes several public transportation organizations, including the Illinois Public Transportation Association.

* More criticism on a different topic from SEIU Healthcare…

Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, issued the following statement in response to Governor JB Pritzker’s budget address:

“As a union of frontline workers providing home care, child care and healthcare services, we applaud the Governor’s commitment to investing in crucial services in ways that will not only provide much-needed care to more families, but also help provide the economic stability that makes it possible for more workers to enter and stay in caring professions.

“While his leadership as an advocate for providing needed care services was evident in the Governor’s address, his proposed funding priorities fall short from what is required to address Illinois’ ongoing care crisis.

“We’re encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to continued increased investment in early childhood education and care, and look forward to working with him to continue to implement Smart Start and the new early childhood state agency, while also investing in the existing early childhood workforce.

“We support the proposed funding increase in the Governor’s budget to meet the existing rates and caseload of the growing Community Care Program. However, the budget lacks funding required to address the cause of the state’s care crisis—the fact is that the crucial jobs that provide home care and child care services are not good and stable jobs. Care workers struggle with unlivable paychecks and no means or path to retirement. The result is that there are simply too few care workers to provide these services. In the Community Care Program, the number of authorized hours of care for which no caregiver is available is now up to 46% and will only continue to go up failing a real investment in the care workforce.

“Care workers are a stabilizing force both in the state’s economy and in the lives of the thousands of working families who rely upon their services. It is our hope that the Governor and the legislature will address the needs of these workers in budget deliberations and add in the funding needed to lift their wages to $20 an hour as a means of stabilizing the workforce for all who need care in the state.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature to build off of this proposed budget to ensure that home care and child care workers—and the crucial services they provide—are prioritized, and to advocate for the additional investment required to serve the needs of seniors and those who care for them.”

* Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities…

We appreciate the Governor and his administration working with the disability community and ultimately deciding not to pursue a proposed decrease in hours for Direct Service Professionals (DSP) in the proposed budget, an action that would have had severe consequences for the many people our members serve. It’s clear through communications with individuals with disabilities, frontline staff, disability providers, and legislators, they understood that decision would have taken Illinois backwards after our recent progress to better fund services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

With this decision in mind, and while the Administration is simultaneously seeking to exit the Ligas Consent Decree and proposing to increase state revenues, we are deeply concerned that the Governor’s budget proposal does not include any increases in wage rates for DSPs. We do not see a path to exiting the consent decree, of which the state has been out of compliance since 2017, without minimally achieving full funding of the Guidehouse rate study, which indicated higher wages and benefits for frontline staff as its top priority.

Disability service providers throughout Illinois continue to face serious pressures and obstacles to attracting DSP workers to provide services, including additional increases in the minimum wage this year and next to $15 an hour on January 1, 2025. Regrettably, the proposed budget’s lack of a DSP wage rate increase represents a significant step backwards in our ability to provide competitive wages and benefits for frontline staff.

This spring, with the leadership of Representative Michelle Mussman and Senator Karina Villa, we will pursue an increase in DSP wages of $3 an hour, to help us stay ahead of these pressures and put us more in line with the progress envisioned by the Guidehouse study two years ago.

We hope the Governor and Legislature will recognize the ongoing struggles of service providers and support this wage increase in the final budget later this spring

* Illinois Partners for Human Service…

In response to today’s Budget Address, Illinois Partners for Human Service recognizes and appreciates the priorities outlined in this budget for the health and human services sector. In particular, we applaud the investments in Smart Start, Homeless Services, and the commitment to continued funding for new arrivals. We commend the Governor and his administration for celebrating the importance of health and human service work and the workers employed by the state, but are disappointed in his failure to acknowledge the thousands of frontline workers from community-based service providers in his remarks, especially since the vast majority work for organizations contracted by the state.

Our coalition partners are among these invaluable providers, working tirelessly on the frontlines every day caring for our communities. Unfortunately, state contracts and reimbursement rates continue to lag behind, failing to cover the full cost of delivering essential services. As a result, our community-based workforce continues to be undervalued, overworked, and underpaid. While the Governor did laud the impact of these services on lives throughout Illinois, he did not address how we will sustain the sector for community-based providers and support our workforce, the majority of whom are women and people of color. We must commit to rectifying the consequences of twenty years of the state’s chronic disinvestment of health and human services - bold actions and long-term funding solutions must be a priority for decision makers.

We look forward to working with the administration and our legislators to do everything possible to find these solutions, increase investment in the community-based human services workforce, and reduce administrative burden for community providers. These organizations are valued and integral to their communities, and their work is essential to the well-being of all Illinoisans.

* NFIB…

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading advocate for small business, commented on Governor J.B. Pritzker’s State of the State Address.

“Governor Pritzker painted a rosy picture of the state of the state today, but—outside the halls of power in Springfield and Chicago—Main Street businesses are experiencing a different reality,” said Noah Finley, NFIB Illinois State Director. “Small business optimism remains depressed, as job creators face ongoing inflation, onerous regulations and mandates, and a shortage of qualified labor.”

“To realize the state’s full potential, NFIB calls on Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly to roll back tax and regulatory burdens on small businesses and unleash the dreams and aspirations of current and aspiring job creators and small-business owners across Illinois.”

* ILGOP…

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s budget response:

“Governor Pritzker has made it a habit of standing up every year to tell the people of Illinois not to believe their own eyes and just trust him with their money. Governor Pritzker’s budgets have spiked spending more than 30% since he took office while we as a state continue to lose population, more than 260,000 people leaving Illinois in the last 3 years alone. Governor Pritzker helped bring the ongoing migrant crisis to Illinois and despite 18 months of disaster proclamations, still can’t get on the same page with the state’s largest city. All the while, he jetsets across the country giving political speeches, more interested in headlines and presidential speculation than actually governing this state.

This budget proposal represents what we’ve come to expect from Governor Pritzker: empty promises of bipartisanship, a radical agenda, and more of your taxpayer dollars to cover the tab.”

* Senate GOP Leader John Curran…

“The Governor just proposed raising taxes on every Illinois family struggling to make ends meet to fund the non-citizen welfare state he created. We have made it clear that the citizens of this state are our priority, while today, the Governor made it clear they’re his piggy bank. Our focus will remain on providing meaningful financial relief to the people of Illinois .”

* Rep. Ryan Spain…

Following Gov. Pritzker’s joint State of the State and Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Address, Deputy House Republican Leader Ryan Spain (R-73rd District) released the following statement:

“For a Governor who is perpetually trying to sell himself as a friend of business development and job creation, the budget he proposed today runs completely contrary to that notion. Instead of focusing on his future presidential ambitions and competing with California for the title of most progressive state in the nation, I wish we could get serious about growing Illinois’ economy.

“His proposal includes $2.29 billion in additional spending, a 4.5 percent increase, which would leave us with a $775 million deficit. How does he propose to solve his deficit problem? By raising another billion dollars in taxes on job creators and cutting tax deductions for working-class families. We’ve already spent $2.8 billion on healthcare for non-citizens, and he wants to spend another $811 million instead of admitting his sanctuary state policy has hurt our state and is taking money away from vulnerable Illinoisans who should be our first priority.

“One of the few positives I heard from the Governor today was his embrace of a plan I’ve been pushing for years to eliminate the grocery tax. Unfortunately, that is a small consolation in relation to everything else I heard today.

“Illinois has lost population for ten years in a row, and we face the second highest property tax burden in the nation. Putting more pressure on families and small businesses under his proposal is only going to drive more people away. We should be providing tax relief, not asking Illinoisans to pay more.”

…Adding… Illinois Chamber…

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is aligned with the Governor’s goal of expanding opportunities for the growth of businesses of all sizes and to continue the expansion of our state’s gross domestic product that has surpassed $1 trillion.

We are, however, disappointed by the Governor’s proposal to extend the cap on business net operating loss. The cap is nothing more than forced borrowing of funds from Illinois businesses to finance government.

We are also disappointed by the Governor’s proposal to reduce the sales tax retailers’ discount. This is a stealth tax increase on our retail sector, who are managing increased operating expenses due to rising labor and raw materials forcing them to operate on already razor thin margins.

We appreciate the Governor’s unwavering support for education and we are aligned that investing in education is vital to building a brighter future for our communities. We believe strongly that educational optionality should be the right of all our states students, especially those in underrepresented communities which saw significant cut backs due the expiration of the Invest in Kids Act.

* Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action…

“Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) commends Governor Pritzker’s dedication to addressing the inequities that exist in Black Maternal Health. At the same time, PPIA urges the governor and state legislature to expand funding for family planning resources and address inequities in sexual reproductive education.

We have requested funding for the family planning program, which helps providers across the state cover costs for patients receiving basic primary and preventive health care, such as wellness exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) testing and treatment.

In addition, we have asked the governor and the state legislature to allocate funding to implement the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act. Over 70% of Illinois schools report not teaching any kind of personal health and safety education. Funding would help school districts across the state meet this need.

While we did not see these vital funding requests in the Governor’s request today, we hope to see his administration revisit these requests and look forward to continuing our joint work on increasing the health and wellness of all Illinoisans.”

…Adding… IRMA…

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) released the following statement regarding Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal:

“The retail discount is a partial reimbursement to the hard-working retailers across Illinois who collect sales taxes on behalf of state and local governments. Contrary to claims, this proposal does not just target large retail stores but would impact retailers of all sizes, from independent grocers to the corner hardware store,” said Rob Karr, president and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “Regardless, it should not fall on retailers to take on all the costs of administering the sales tax code. We look forward to working with the governor and legislative leaders to find a way to preserve this reimbursement and avoid further damage to our state’s retail sector.”

* Community Behavioral Healthcare Association CEO Blanca Campos…

“We applaud Governor Pritzker’s proposal to ban prior authorization requirements for in-patient mental health care for both children and adults and eliminate “step therapy” for prescription drugs, a requirement that patients first “fail” to use one or more lower-cost, alternative medications before the insurance company will cover a higher-cost drug prescribed by a doctor, and force insurance companies to use the same definitions of medical necessity that doctors use.

“Nevertheless, the governor’s FY2025 budget makes no new investments that the state needs to continue to boost funding to strengthen the behavioral healthcare workforce and create more access to care. Thus, the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association will vigorously advocate with lawmakers for increased investment in care and the workforce in next year’s budget.”

       

11 Comments
  1. - City Zen - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 2:17 pm:

    ==We are disappointed in and cannot support the Governor’s budget proposal to cut transportation funding==

    You got the Lockbox Amendment. Deal with it.


  2. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 2:19 pm:

    If nobody likes it, he probably got it about right.


  3. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 2:35 pm:

    If the governor keeps funding all this stuff there will not be any money left for the Sox. /s


  4. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 2:49 pm:

    At it’s most basic level, politics is about how to divide scarce resources. No one gets everything they want/need every time. There will be winners and losers.

    That’s politics.


  5. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 2:49 pm:

    What @City Zen said +1.

    You will never get 100% buy in and you simply cannot fund everything, so this is probably a good budget.

    I did enjoy this tidbit from the IDG (Illinois Doom Grifters for the uninitiated)…

    =Governor Pritzker’s budgets have spiked spending more than 30% since he took office while we as a state continue to lose population, more than 260,000 people leaving Illinois in the last 3 years alone. Governor Pritzker helped bring the ongoing migrant crisis to Illinois and despite 18 months of disaster proclamations, still can’t get on the same page with the state’s largest city. All the while, he jetsets across the country giving political speeches, more interested in headlines and presidential speculation than actually governing this state.=

    They simply cannot help themselves and always want to tell tall tales.


  6. - Macon Bakin - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 2:57 pm:

    While I am truly peeved as someone that understand that accessible transportation is the number 1 source of economic mobility period end of story I also agree with 47th ward that politics is indeed who gets what, when, and how.


  7. - Scooter - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 3:20 pm:

    The Illinois Public Transportation Association which is objecting to this use of $175 million in Road Fund dollars serves interests which are almost exclusively “downstate.” You will find Pace Suburban Bus on their member-organization list; however, Metra and the CTA are not IPTA members.


  8. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 5:25 pm:

    === The full list of the group’s membership is here, and interestingly enough it includes several public transportation organizations, including the Illinois Public Transportation Association. ===

    If you’ll look carefully you will see that the transit agencies of northeastern Illinois are not represented by TFIC, and they are not a major player in the statewide transit association. Those four agencies can’t even agree among themselves, let alone with their road and/or downstate partners.

    They have preferred to go it alone ever since Jim Reilly left.


  9. - 62629 - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 8:48 pm:

    so, do away with the grocery tax which is 100% local money? does the state make locals whole like last time or do the locals take a bath? the state can’t make that up forever


  10. - Brandon - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 9:11 pm:

    Pritzker’s budget looks really good. Again.

    It is unbelievable to continue hearing republicans tout lies about the population loss. I wish they all would leave.


  11. - very old soil - Wednesday, Feb 21, 24 @ 9:40 pm:

    Or maybe the locals could step up to the plate and raise their own money/


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