Sen. Sara Feigenholtz

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) released the following statement regarding the governor’s budget address Wednesday afternoon:

“Today's budget address is historic in so many ways. It provides an additional $500 million to pay down future pension debt, saving $1.8 billion in interest costs through 2045 and continuing our efforts to put Illinois on a path toward greater fiscal responsibility.

“In addition, Gov. Pritzker is prioritizing public safety. Investing in our communities is vital to reducing crime and keeping our neighborhoods safe.  The budget provides increased funding for cadet classes for Illinois State Police and the technology and tools needed to do their job. In addition, the budget allocates $240 million in gun violence prevention.

“Bar and restaurant owners have faced tremendous financial distress — this budget alleviates that burden by implementing a much-deserved one-year waiver for liquor license fees and gives our small businesses more relief funding through state grants.

“I applaud Gov. Pritzker’s work to invest in the people of Illinois by providing property tax rebates, suspending a portion of the gas tax, and freezing the tax on groceries, helping working families as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The pandemic has amplified the need for a stable child welfare system for Illinois' frontline workers stretched beyond limits.  In the governor’s proposed budget, the Department of Children and Family Services’ increase in funding to address families at risk is a solid investment. In addition, funding for additional staff will benefit foster children we rely on to place children safely in loving foster or adoptive homes.

“For years, I have advocated for a Chief Behavioral Health Officer in the governor’s office, and today Gov. Pritzker addressed the need in his remarks:

“Nobody has escaped the isolation, burnout, and trauma of the past two years. But, now more than ever, it’s important to invest in behavioral health. That’s why I will be appointing a Chief Behavioral Health Officer to oversee and coordinate behavioral health services directly with the Governor’s Office. Behavioral health is an area where Representative Deb Conroy is a real leader. With partners across the rotunda like Senators Sara Feigenholtz and Laura Fine, I’m confident the Chief Behavioral Health Officer will succeed in streamlining and coordinating these services across state agencies.”

“In addition, increasing the rates for behavioral and mental health providers will give patients more access to these essential services.

"This proposed FY2023 budget prioritizes Illinois’ health - both physically and mentally - so we can remain whole and resilient to move our state forward as we emerge from this pandemic.”