martinez 031120CHICAGO – In recognition of the vast economic devastation the COVID-19 outbreak continues to have on underserved communities, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is relieved by the investments made for students, business owners and seniors in next year’s budget, which the governor signed into law Wednesday.

“Because of our state’s current fiscal responsibilities, this budget recognizes Illinois’ commitment to funding essential services for students, employees and seniors,” Martinez said. “By providing vital resources, the state is supporting our residents who need the most help in response to the pandemic.”

The FY 21 budget:

•       Continues to fulfill the state’s commitment to fully fund P-12 and higher education, with an additional $12.7 million going to the Illinois State Board of Education,

•       Appropriates over $600 million in funding for businesses impacted by COVID-19, with grants and other resources specifically for daycare providers and underserved communities,

•       Provides an additional $201.7 million to the Illinois Department on Aging and $28 million in new money to the Community Care Program, which supports seniors who live independently in their homes, and

•       Allocated an additional $32 million in funding for services to immigrant welcoming centers to help recent immigrants get the COVID-19-related help they need.

Another priority of the Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus was passed in the FY 21 budget, which included expanding Medicaid eligibility to low-income undocumented people over 65 years old.

“Expanding Medicaid coverage to undocumented seniors is an additional resource to allow them to prioritize their health and security — not just for themselves and their families, but from financial devastation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martinez said. “Once testing positive, residents should only be worrying about recovery, not about the financial burden related to medical bills.”

In addition, the budget appropriates nearly $60 million in funding to the Department of Employment Security to address the challenges with the unemployment system, allowing the department to hire more staff for assistance on claims.

The FY 21 budget is effective July 1, 2020.