stadelman 042821SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate has passed legislation sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) that would ensure local sales tax revenue approved by Winnebago county voters is used for mental health and substance abuse resources.

“The voters spoke. They said they want this money to go to mental health and substance abuse treatment. I want to make sure it does,” Stadelman said. 

In March of 2020, the residents of Winnebago County passed a referendum that increased the county’s sales tax rate. The additional revenue from the increase is meant to go to community-based mental health and substance abuse resources and support. This legislation requires counties that have approved this sales tax referendum to create seven-member boards made up of health advocates and professionals to help administer the funding produced by the referendum, as the taxpayers intended.

The county expects to see up to $14 million in additional revenue a year for these programs.

“This legislation eliminates barriers to mental health and substance abuse treatment by supporting private sector and non-profit alternatives to handling these public health crises. It does so by creating a greater number of access points to treatment. It allows counties to gap-fill specific services and shape mental health and substance abuse treatment according to the needs of the community, rather than through an arbitrary statewide mandate that will help the communities most in need,” said David Gill, President of NAMI Northern Illinois.

Senate Bill 2278 passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 56-0 and now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.