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Some budget react

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Governor JB Pritzker…

Today the Illinois General Assembly passed the $53.1 billion state FY25 budget package, concluding a legislative session that reaffirmed Governor Pritzker’s commitment to common-sense investments in Illinois families and fiscal responsibility. This is the sixth balanced budget the Governor has proposed in as many years and continues a track record of fiscal responsibility and good stewardship that has raised Illinois’s credit rating nine times and paid off billions in debt.

“Since day one, I’ve said I would only support a balanced budget that makes good use of Illinois taxpayer dollars to make our state and its working families stronger—and the budget agreement passed today fulfills both of those goals,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m grateful for the partnership of Speaker Welch, President Harmon, and the budget negotiating team in getting this package across the finish line, and I look forward to seeing how the initiatives approved within will benefit Illinoisans across the state.”

“This budget reflects our steadfast belief that every Illinoisan deserves an opportunity to thrive, free from the burdens of poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and systemic barriers,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “With the historic investments included in this budget, we are paving the way for generations to come, ensuring that Illinois remains a beacon of hope and progress. I thank Governor Pritzker, Speaker Welch, President Harmon, and our partners in the General Assembly for their hard work.”

Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly have collaborated to pass six balanced budgets in the five and a half years since he took office. In that time, the state has seen its Budget Stabilization Fund balance grow to over $2 billion, received nine credit rating upgrades, paid down an $8 billion bill backlog, and surpassed a trillion dollar economy.

Some highlights of the FY25 budget include:

    -$500 million to build a world-leading quantum computing campus, attracting billions in potential private sector and federal government investment.
    - More than $500 million in increases for education funding across early childhood, K-12, and higher education.
    - $50 million for the state’s first ever child tax credit to help working families with children under 12 who receive earned income tax credits.
    - Pay increases for Direct Support Professionals (DSP) who work in group homes and Community Care Program (CCP) in-home providers who serve seniors.
    - Nearly $3 billion to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the highest-ever investment of its kind in Illinois.
    - Funding to increase birth equity and eliminate black maternal mortality disparities. ​
    - Increases in funding to safety net hospitals and nursing homes across the state.
    - $198 million into the Budget Stabilization “Rainy Day” Fund.
    - Elimination of the statewide grocery tax.
    $290 million to Home Illinois to work towards ending homelessness in Illinois.
    - $14 million to fund creation of the new Department of Early Childhood.

In addition to the budget package, the General Assembly passed several landmark pieces of legislation in the final weeks of session that were initially proposed by Governor Pritzker in his February “State of the State” address, including:

    - The Healthcare Protection Act, a series of reforms meant to address network inadequacy and eliminate step therapy and prior authorization issues to make health insurance companies more navigable and affordable for patients and providers.
    - Nearly $1 billion in medical debt relief supported by a $10 million new state funding commitment.
    - Strengthened protections to Illinois SHIELD laws to protect patients travelling from out of state to obtain reproductive care.
    - Establishment of nation-leading standards around carbon capture and sequestration.

Click here for a budget summary from the governor’s office.

* House Speaker Chris Welch…

“This balanced budget is the culmination of months of good-faith negotiations and challenging conversations to ensure the values of Illinoisans are reflected in this moral document. It continues to rebuild our fiscal house, while meeting the needs of families, communities, and businesses across this state.

“I want to thank my Chief Budgeteer Jehan Gordon-Booth, the House appropriations chairs, the budget negotiation team, and our entire budget staff for their dedication to getting this right. And thank you to Governor JB Pritzker and Senate President Don Harmon for their partnership in our goal to lift up all of Illinois.”

* House Minority Leader Tony McCombie…

After the Illinois House passed the new state budget on partisan lines in the wee- hours of Wednesday morning, House Minority Leader Tony McCombie issued the following statement:

“This budget is a negligent political document that comes at a massive price to Illinois families. The partisan approach by Democratic leaders has pushed the state onto a failed path of taxes and overspending while ignoring necessary structural and ethical reforms.”

“Over the past few weeks, the House has passed bills that address vital needs in the state. The Illinois House Republican caucus, representing parts of all 102 counties, is responsible for holding the majority party accountable on spending. This is especially important with the passage of a budget with bloated political projects, taxpayer-funded benefits for noncitizens, and politician pay raises, which come at the expense of the state’s most vulnerable residents.”

* Comptroller Susana Mendoza…

The state budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1st makes key investments in our future and addresses the needs of our state’s most vulnerable residents.

I applaud lawmakers for their hard work this session, increasing investments in K-12 and early childhood education, career and technical programs, college MAP grants, after school programs and services for people with developmental disabilities. The budget also supports Illinois’ healthcare network, especially Illinois’ nursing homes and pharmacies and funds two new Illinois State Police cadet classes.

I am grateful to the General Assembly for adopting my proposal giving my office the flexibility to make pension payments earlier, as noted in the Budget Implementation Bill. The five pension systems will welcome this option when the state’s finances allow. The fact that we can even take advantage of this cash management tool is a testament to the hard work put into improving the state’s finances. This will give the pension systems stability and flexibility for their investment portfolios.

This budget anticipates payments of $198 million by June 2025 into the Rainy Day Fund, which would bring the total to an estimated $2.3 billion. That’s good, but the bond rating agencies – and I – think Illinois can do better. I look forward to resuming conversations with legislators and the administration on my bill to require more regular contributions to the Rainy Day and Pension Stabilization funds. It’s imperative that the state have a healthy Rainy Day Fund to see us through times of economic crisis such as a major recession or another global pandemic, and that we do more to pay down our pension debt as quickly as possible. I will continue to pursue this proposal.

* Illinois Freedom Caucus…

The Illinois Freedom Caucus is calling out the Democratic supermajority for approving massive tax increases while continuing to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to programs and services for illegal immigrants.

The recently approved $53.1 billion budget proposal includes approximately $750 million in tax increases. The budget also authorizes $622 million in spending for illegal immigrants.

“The budget process in Illinois is a joke. The negotiations on how to spend $53 billion of taxpayer money was done in secret behind closed doors. We all know we are required by law to pass a budget and we have had five months to work on a budget and yet we had only essentially a weekend to view the budget before being asked to vote on it.

The heavy-handed approach the majority party employs in the budget process is an affront to the hard-working people of this state. When the supermajority could not get 60 votes to pass their tax increases, they voted to suspend the rules to keep running the vote until it passed. We are living in a state of tyranny. While families across the state are having to make tough economic choices because of inflation and our state’s high taxes, the Democrats are helping themselves to yet another pay raise with this budget, and ramming through tax increase after tax increase.

The spending priorities in this budget do not reflect the priorities of the vast majority of Illinois citizens. The vast majority of voters in this state do not want to have their taxes go up just to pay for services for illegal immigrants. The more money we spend on illegal immigrants, the more illegal immigrants we will attract and the more money we will have to spend just to keep up. Where does it end? How much of our money will we spend for people who are not even legally allowed to be here in the first place? What we are doing is not sustainable and it is wrong. It is time to put the people of Illinois first.”

* Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth…

“This is a responsible, human-centered budget that delivers needed investment to our classrooms, enhances public safety and works to uplift families in every community. From helping our youngest learners access early childhood education opportunities, to enabling more older adults to receive the care they deserve, this is a comprehensive document that helps people now and moving forward.

“Our balanced approach builds on the significant financial progress our state has made in recent years, making us more responsive to the real challenges facing families. This plan invests millions more in our schools, reinforces after-school and summer youth programs and creates a new child tax credit that will provide assistance to families with young kids. It also continues to comprehensively address public safety, reinvesting in communities while giving first responders the tools they need to do their job safely and effectively.

“After months of rigorous negotiation, this is a strong budget that is going to help a lot of people. Let’s continue to work together to build a stronger Illinois for everyone.”

* Illinois Retail Merchants Association…

“Retailers play a crucial role for the state by collecting sales taxes on behalf of state and local governments. While they will now be reimbursed at a lower rate for their costs in administering the sales tax code, we are pleased the Governor’s office and legislators agreed to limit the fees financial institutions can charge on the sales tax portion of transactions. This important change will give retailers across Illinois some much-needed breathing room and we thank the Governor and legislators for their constructive engagement on this issue,” said Rob Karr, president and CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “We also applaud the decision to expand access to convenient, affordable, and safe healthcare by allowing pharmacists to provide a wider range of vaccinations and treatments for common ailments. This will ensure people can receive healthcare from highly trained professionals when they need it most.”

* The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association…

“We appreciate the ongoing collaboration with Governor JB Pritzker’s office and legislators on both sides of the aisle to advance policies that will maintain our state’s manufacturing strength, including the IMA’s initiative to extend the Research & Development tax credit,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We applaud passage of legislation establishing a framework for carbon capture and storage, which will foster economic investment and job creation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as important investments in career and technical education, workforce training, and transformative quantum computing technology. However, we are disappointed that businesses will not be able to fully write off losses for three more years. We look forward to continuing conversations in the coming months.”

* Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery…

“Passing this budget is crucial for our state’s success. The IFT supports and applauds the legislature’s additional investments in early childhood education of $75 million, an additional $350 million toward the school funding formula, and continued investment in teacher recruitment and retention programs. However, the meager increase in higher education funding falls woefully short. Our state needs sustainable revenue solutions to ensure full funding for PreK-12, higher education, and early childhood programs now. Supporting these foundational areas is essential for strengthening our state and making Illinois the best place to work, live, and thrive. It’s clear that we still do not have a sufficient, sustainable, rational and fair revenue system.

“Since Illinois shifted to the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) model for K-12 schools, the legislature has allocated, on average, $350 million, or the bare minimum statutory funding level required each fiscal year. The EBF funding gap for public schools stands at $2.3 billion. The original promise of the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act, passed in 2017, was that EBF would be fully funded by 2027. At our current rate of investment, EBF will not be fully funded until 2040. To fulfill the legislature’s promise to public schools and students, we must increase our investment. Illinois urgently needs robust revenue streams and serious discussions about securing sustainable funding. We must not fail yet another generation of Illinois children.

“The additional $10 million for the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP), bringing full investment in the program to $711 million, is a commendable step. This increased funding will enhance the financial stability of our public colleges and universities, making higher education more affordable for students, particularly Black, Brown, and low-income students who benefit the most. A 2 percent increase to our state universities is not good enough, however. Funding for our state universities has been decimated over the past two decades and it shows. They require meaningful re-investment now.

“In light of the ongoing teacher shortage and the critical need to hire and retain a more diverse teaching force, securing the Grow Your Own program funding was essential, as was continued funding for teacher vacancy grants. These are two very positive, continued investments in the next generation of teachers. Eliminating the Virtual Instructional Coach (VIC) program is a deeply misguided decision, however. At a time when teacher retention is crucial, dismantling a proven support system designed to nurture and retain talent is a step backward for our schools.

“By ensuring pension payments are made as mandated by law, the legislature has taken a crucial step to secure the financial stability of our retirees and honor the commitments already made to hardworking public servants. We look forward to continued discussion around repairs to the inadequate “Tier II” pension, which is widely agreed to violate federal law, and to creating a fairer structure that is properly resourced for the long term while addressing the dire shortages in teaching and public service workforces.

“The IFT expresses our gratitude to legislators for their hard work and collaboration throughout this session. As we move forward, we are committed to intensifying our efforts and working collectively to identify sustainable revenue streams. These crucial revenue discussions are essential to ensuring Illinois remains a strong economic state and continues to thrive for all its residents while supporting and funding our education and public service priorities.”

* Planned Parenthood Illinois Action President Jennifer Welch …

“Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) applauds the Illinois General Assembly on passing a budget that supports reproductive and sexual health for Illinoisans particularly around family planning and birth equity. We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership on prioritizing the fight for birth equity and his commitment to addressing the Black maternal health crisis.”

* President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Greg Kelley…

As a union of frontline workers providing home care, child care and healthcare services, we applaud the leadership of Governor Pritzker, President Harmon and Speaker Welch for wrestling with hard choices and choosing to go in the direction of raising revenue in order to make some of the desperately needed investments in Illinois communities.

We want to express appreciation for the lawmakers, and in particular those in the Black, Latino, Asian and Progressive caucuses, who prioritized the Community Care Program, lifting the hourly wage up to a minimum of $18, an increase of $1 an hour for home care workers. Thanks to their advocacy, over 100,000 seniors across the state will now have a more stabilized work force and more security in the care they rely upon in order to continue living independently in their homes. While this is a crucial step in the right direction, it will take additional investment to lift wages to a level that will truly stabilize this program. We look forward to working with our legislative advocates in the future to secure the funding and wage levels needed to get this program where it needs to be to best serve seniors in the state.

Our members are also appreciative of lawmakers’ protection of a key nursing home staffing level incentive in Medicaid rate reform, and of the new sources of hospital safety funding to offset funding being lost. These are modest but important measures to prioritize safe staffing and to assure healthcare accessibility for communities experiencing the highest unmet needs.

There is work still to do in offsetting the lost ARPA funding, especially in the area of child care—both to make child care more affordable and accessible to families, and to raise wages and improve working conditions to reverse the child care workforce crisis—but we commend Governor’s Pritzker’s commitment to securing new funding.

Overall, we appreciate the work and compromise that went into creating a strong and balanced budget, but there is still more we need to do as a state in terms of securing the revenue necessary to invest in care work—which is crucial to ensuring that care is available to all in Illinois who need it.

* Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities President Josh Evans…

The Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF), representing community providers of services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and serious mental illnesses, today issued the following statement after the final state budget proposal was acted on by the Illinois Legislature:

“We offer a sincere and important thank you to state legislators and Gov. Pritzker’s Administration for supporting another state budget that provides wage increases to workers who support those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and invests in psychiatric services for persons with serious mental illnesses in the Medicaid program.

Illinois has taken important steps forward in recent years to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). The new state budget will mark another step forward with a $1-an-hour increase in DSP wage rates.

Due to the support of the Legislature, we’re seeing staffing levels improve throughout the state. This budget will keep us on the path outlined in the Guidehouse report for parity with the state’s minimum wage that will increase to $15 next January, and that will allow us to compete against the wage packages offered by restaurants, retailers and others in the marketplace.

We understand state resources are scarce, and that is why we thank the legislators who stepped up during final budget negotiations to ensure this investment is a priority. We will continue this momentum to provide the critical support for our shared goal: helping all with disabilities and mental illnesses receive the quality care and services they need for meaningful lives.”

* Healthy Illinois Campaign Director Tovia Siegel…

We applaud the Illinois General Assembly, in conjunction with Gov. JB Pritzker, for passing much needed funding for the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors programs that support healthier families and boost our economy as a whole. This funding level should ensure that the nearly 70,000 people enrolled in either program will not be forced off of their much-needed coverage, a significant victory for undocumented Illinoisans who rely on this life-saving healthcare as well as for the healthcare and immigrant advocates who have fought for these critical programs for years.

Additionally, we’re hopeful that this increase in funding, coupled with a significant decrease in program costs in recent months, offers the opportunity for these programs to be reopened to new applicants and could also eliminate the need to impose unnecessary cost sharing on participants. Our coalition stands ready to work with the Pritzker Administration to examine reopening enrollment for these programs in a fiscally responsible manner, and we urge the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to reconsider imposing copays or other cost-cutting measures that will undo positive healthcare and financial progress made in recent years.

While we are encouraged to see these programs avoid harmful cuts, it is still the goal of the Healthy Illinois Campaign to secure health coverage for all, regardless of immigration status. We will continue to fight for proper funding of HBIA and HBIS that forever eliminates all caps and copays, and we will continue to work toward expanding coverage for those ages 19-41 in the years to come.

Today, thanks to the work of Gov. Pritzker, President Harmon, Speaker Welch and the General Assembly, these programs are backed by more than $600 million in funding, which provides life-saving care like cancer screenings, chronic disease management, and vitally needed prescription medications for older adults and seniors across Illinois. We would also like to extend a special thank you to the Latino Caucus, the Asian American Caucus and the Progressive Caucus for their relentless legislative advocacy to ensure these programs are properly funded. We look forward to continuing to engage the legislature and the governor as we work toward the goal of coverage for all.

* The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association…

The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) commends the General Assembly for passing its FY25 State Budget that includes a measure championed by the IHLA to raise much-needed revenue for the state by closing a loophole used by third-party booking websites that allows their customers to pay lower taxes when they book rooms online. By closing this loophole, it is estimated that the state will generate an additional $30 million in tax dollars that would have previously gone uncollected.

“Closing this loophole is a win for Illinois’ hotel industry, and a win for the state. On top of leveling the playing field between hotels and third-party websites, it is expected to generate an additional $30 million in revenue that can be used to fund important state programs and promote tourism. Travel promotion is more important than ever as we work to increase Illinois’ competitiveness and return to pre-pandemic tourism levels to further bolster our state’s economy. We appreciate our partners in the House and Senate for including this this important measure in this year’s budget and supporting Illinois’ tourism and hospitality industry,” said Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association.

       

9 Comments
  1. - I-72 Blues - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:45 pm:

    “We are living in a state of tyranny.”

    No you’re not. Learn how to win elections. Have better ideas. Don’t talk crazy.

    Newsflash: Saying things like the above will not help you win elections.


  2. - JS Mill - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:54 pm:

    Instead of funding new programs they should fully fund programs in existence, especially in education. No new departments or programs until everything else is fully funded. Not just EBF, transportation and student lunches too. All MCATS for that matter.


  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 12:59 pm:

    –we had only essentially a weekend to view the budget before being asked to vote on it.–

    The Freedom Caucus is a parody of itself now.


  4. - Excitable Boy - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 1:39 pm:

    - The spending priorities in this budget do not reflect the priorities of the vast majority of Illinois citizens -

    If that’s the case go out and win some elections.


  5. - Duck Duck Goose - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 2:05 pm:

    The Freedom Caucus is a small fringe in a super-minority party. They should probably refrain from issuing statements claiming to know the priorities of a vast majority of Illinois citizens. If they actually had their finger on the pulse of a vast majority of Illinois citizens (or even a slim majority thereof), their influence would not be reduced to petty, peevish press releases.


  6. - TJ - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 2:51 pm:

    The freedom caucus is probably too busy making up hairbrained plans to secede various counties from the state than they are with being meaningfully relevant legislators.


  7. - Two Left Feet - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 3:46 pm:

    The State should have to do a report on the “subject to appropriation” bills that are included in the budget and those that are not.


  8. - $$$$$ - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 3:58 pm:

    At the end of the day virtually every new tax increase (I support them and reject the Springfield euphemism of “revenue enhancements”) was in the Governor’s introduced budget. Maybe Republicans don’t read it ever, or only pick it up in mid May, but it was all right there to be seen in February.


  9. - Jibba - Wednesday, May 29, 24 @ 4:09 pm:

    When the rainy day fund gets larger than our pension debt, can we use it for that?


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