ventura 052424SPRINGFIELD State Senator Rachel Ventura advanced an initiative through the House and Senate that would allow local government to apply for loans through the Illinois Finance Authority Climate Bank in an effort to expand clean energy infrastructure across Illinois while saving tax payers money on interest rates.

“We need every level of government to do their part when it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Through the IFA bank, these low-rate loans to local government will not only save taxpayers money in the long run, but also address and tackle the effects of climate change.”

Senate Bill 3597 would allow units of local government to apply and obtain a loan from the Illinois Finance Authority Climate Bank to build, purchase, remodel or improve clean energy infrastructure.

Currently, units of local government borrow from the bond market, but by borrowing from the Climate Bank, they will receive a lower interest rate, saving all taxpayers money.

After the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act passed in 2021, cities in Illinois were allowed to borrow funds from the Climate Bank. In 2023, the first full year of IFA's designation as the Climate Bank, it mobilized $256 million for climate finance purposes. To date, they have received $60 million in federal funding awards, with more anticipated.

"Good-paying jobs, environmental sustainability and long-term economic growth are at the heart of the clean energy goals Illinois lawmakers have been pursuing for years, and this measure is another step toward making those goals a reality," said House Majority Leader Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston). "In addition to financial benefits, communities across our state will receive the benefit of preserving our environment, a responsibility we have towards future generations who deserve a natural world they can enjoy."

"Today, the Illinois Finance Authority/Climate Bank thanks Senator Rachel Ventura and House Majority Leader Robyn Gabel for their inclusive bipartisan work to pass SB 3597 through both the Senate and the House. SB 3597 will help local property taxpayers by lowering the cost for Illinois local governments to finance public clean energy infrastructure - solar panels, energy storage, energy efficiency, building electrification, electric vehicle fleets/charging infrastructure - using one-time only funds provided by the Biden/Harris Administration through the federal Inflation Reduction Act,” said Chris Meister, executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority/Climate Bank.  “The Illinois Bankers Association, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Municipal League, the Illinois Municipal Utilities Association, the Illinois State Association of Counties, the Illinois Association of County Board Members, the City of Chicago, and Organized Labor helped Senator Ventura and Leader Gabel make the bipartisan case for SB 3597.  SB 3597 is another tool to help make Governor JB Pritzker's vision of an equitable climate-friendly future for all the people of Illinois reality.”

Senate Bill 3597 passed the House earlier this week and the Senate concurred on Friday. The bill now heads to the governor for further consideration.