Sen. President Don Harmon

SPRINGFIELD – Building upon the responsible spending decisions the Illinois Senate Democratic caucus made and balanced budgets they’ve passed in recent years, the General Assembly passed a spending and tax relief package that prioritizes working families and provides them with relief following two years of financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew we wanted to provide real relief to people who, despite an over-performing economy, are struggling under the weight of inflation and the lingering effect of the pandemic,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “This budget puts money back into the pockets of hardworking Illinoisans in the form of direct tax refund checks.”

Following the budget impasse that hindered Illinois’ financial footing, the state took critical action to pay off its bills. Soon, Illinois saw its credit rating improve and found itself with a sizeable surplus thanks to efforts from the Illinois Senate Democrats. This allowed the General Assembly to pass a budget that pays it forward by fighting inflation and putting money back in taxpayers’ pockets. In total, working families will see $1.83 billion in relief.

Further building upon that success – and the success of the FY 22 budget – Illinois Senate Democrats were able to continue to set the state on a path toward fiscal responsibility by making an additional $500 million pension payment and putting $1 billion in the state’s Rainy Day fund.

“As the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, I set a mandate for our budget to solve the pressing economic problems facing low- and middle-income families,” said State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago). “Because of our responsible fiscal decisions over the past few years, our state has generated the largest surplus in more than two decades.”

The budget passed Saturday also considers the struggle many families face when considering sending their children off to college. It increases funding for the Monetary Award Program by $122 million to $601.6 million. This investment will make need-based financial aid available to at least 24,000 more students and increase the maximum grant award to $8,508 – which is nearly half a year’s worth of tuition at a state university. Under this plan, MAP funding will have increased 50% over the last four years.

“We are looking toward the future and setting Illinois up for success with a budget that will help our state thrive for years to come,” said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “With an increase in prices at the gas pump, grocery checkout line and other places, people are feeling the financial strain. Getting a check back will help relieve families from that burden.”

 To address the rising rate of crime and the need for greater public safety initiatives, the budget invests millions to support public safety measures, invests in the tools law enforcement needs to prevent and solve crimes and strengthen investments in violence prevent programs that keep communities safe. 

“This budget ensures that there is equity in how Illinois spends its money and that everyone in our state, regardless of ZIP code, is given the opportunity for health, housing and public safety,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “We are investing in true public safety for all by investing in our communities and empowering ordinary citizens.”

The Fiscal Year 23 budget will take effect July 1, 2022.