config

Budget

  • The Majority Report 06/15/20 - Days of Action hosted by Black Caucus, a call for peace, and how the state budget preserves vital services

    majority-report-header-2014

    Joint Caucus of Black elected officials host Days of Action

    Joint Caucus of Black Elected OfficialsCHICAGO — The Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials hosted a series of days of action to spark change in the Chicagoland area. There were a total of four events, one each on the South Side, West Side, South Suburbs and West Suburbs.

    Black leaders, governor, lieutenant governor and the Senate president gathered for the West Side Day of Action at Cicero and Monroe on Thursday, June 4.

    Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said the Black community has never been treated fairly, and that’s about to change.

    Read more.

     


    Women's Caucus calls for justice and peace as protests continue across Illinois

    Sen. Jacqueline Y. CollinsCHICAGO — The women of the Illinois Senate came together to issue a united call for justice and peace. Lawmakers from both parties called on the state to address the issues that have led to the protests and to join together in healing.

    “We cannot condone violence in any form,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Deputy Majority Caucus Chair (D-Chicago). “That means that we must have justice for Americans who have been brutalized by the violence of law enforcement. Voices across Illinois join those across the nation in loudly proclaiming that Black lives matter, and that peace cannot come about without justice.”

    Read more.

     

     


    State budget provides COVID-19 relief

    Illinois CapitolSPRINGFIELD — Following weeks of negotiations carried out under pandemic conditions, the governor signed a budget aimed at fighting COVID-19 and preserving state services in the face of unprecedented revenue shortfalls.

    “The budget was extremely difficult to craft in these unprecedented times, but I believe it will provide desperately needed relief to communities as we continue on a path toward recovery,” said State Senator Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), one of the Senate’s budget negotiators.

    Read more.

     

     


     

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Melinda Bush, Grayslake: Amid COVID-19 fears, law allows rape kits at places other than emergency rooms | Journal Gazette Times-Courier

    Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Peoria Public Schools land grant for 220 summer jobs for young people | JournalStar

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Seniors, already at risk from COVID-19, face problems getting groceries and prescriptions | Chicago Tribune

    Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: $270 million child care grant program now available | WIFR

     


    Copyright 2020 - Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus - All Rights Reserved

    Subscribe to The Majority Report

    %MCEPASTEBIN%
  • State budget emphasizes employment, education, mental health

    Senator BushGRAYSLAKE — Gov. JB Pritzker officially signed the new state budget today, and it includes funding to support Illinois seniors, for residents struggling with mental health and substance abuse, and to stabilize the education system, all priorities for State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake).

    “We’re facing record unemployment because of the pandemic, and our systems weren’t built to accommodate the number of people needing help all at once,” Bush said. “This budget had to help stabilize our economy and provide support for all struggling Illinoisans. Now was not the time to be cutting back on vital services.”

    The budget preserves P-12 education funding, ensuring that the pandemic doesn’t rob students of the opportunity to succeed in the future. It provides $12.6 billion to P-12 education and $7.2 billion specifically for the state’s evidence based funding model. It also increases funding to support older Illinois residents with additional funding for the Senior Meals Program and a nearly $28 million increase to the Community Care Program, which will help people who might otherwise need to go to an assisted living facility stay in their homes.

    The budget also contains an additional $30 million for mental health and substance abuse programs affected by COVID-19 and provides the Illinois Department of Employment Security with $60 million in additional funding to address challenges with the unemployment system. The added funding will help IDES increase the number of workers to help aid residents navigate the unemployment system and process claims faster.

    “This isn’t anyone’s ideal budget, but it’s the one we needed right now,” Bush said. “It protects students, seniors, and the unemployed.”

    The approved budget is for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1.

  • State releases $1.3 million to support critical access pharmacies in rural, underserved areas

    Sen. Andy ManarBUNKER HILL – More than 70 critical access pharmacies, primarily in rural and underserved downstate communities, will benefit from $1.3 million in payments released on Saturday by Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza under a program championed by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

    The payments were released under the Critical Access Pharmacy program for pharmacies that have experienced serious financial difficulty because of lower rates offered under the state’s managed care program and also because of rate cuts by pharmacy benefit managers. To qualify for the CAP Program, pharmacies must be located in medically underserved areas, as determined by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

  • Comptroller Mendoza sets record straight on pay raise rumors

    Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza

    BUNKER HILL – Some Illinois lawmakers took to social media this week to disingenuously spread misinformation regarding pay increases for legislators in the state budget approved early Sunday morning, prompting Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza to step in and issue a statement dispelling the falsehood. Now, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) says some of his colleagues willfully deceived the public for political gain.

    “There is not a single member of the Illinois House or Senate who will receive a pay raise. My colleagues in the Senate are aware of this now and were aware of this when we voted,” Manar said. “At a time when our constituents are all feeling economic hardship and angst, for lawmakers to knowingly suggest otherwise is cheap, disingenuous, and indicative of the worst of our politics. The people we represent deserve better and are owed the truth.”

  • The Majority Report 05/26/20 - Senate passes budget, COVID-19 relief measures, among other items

    majority-report-header-2014

    Senate approves budget prioritizing COVID-19 relief

    Sen. President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and focusing on preserving vital services, the Illinois Senate passed a budget that prioritizes public health and safety.

    In order to protect people’s health, the budget provides additional funding to both the state’s health department and local health departments. It also expands programs that help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes, keeping them out of long-term care facilities that have been hit disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

    Read more.

     

     


    Murphy leads local government COVID-19 recovery plan

    Sen. Laura MurphySPRINGFIELD — To help guide local governments through the COVID-19 recovery process, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) sponsored a package of legislation to give municipalities the means to address pandemic-related challenges.

    “Especially now, local governments are keeping our communities afloat by managing our regional health departments and providing financial, housing and meal assistance to struggling Illinoisans,” said Murphy. “I hope this legislation can help them continue to provide much-needed services as we look to recover from this pandemic.”

    Read more.

     

     

     


    Morrison: Vote by mail is essential for voter safety

    Sen. Julie A. MorrisonSPRINGFIELD — Thanks to efforts from State Senator Julie Morrison, Illinoisans will have a more accessible way to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, standing in line to vote isn’t safe for many, specifically older populations and those at higher health risks.

    “COVID-19 has made congregating in small and enclosed spaces more dangerous,” Morrison said. “Long lines to get to the ballot box would require people to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

    Read more.

     

     


    Holmes' labor agreement on workplace safety and workers’ compensation passes Senate

    Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — To protect essential workers and incentivize employers to provide the best protective measures possible in the workplace during the pandemic, State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) led the effort to pass a comprehensive labor and workers’ compensation plan out of the Illinois Senate Thursday.

    “This is an agreement between business and labor that ensures better protections for employees and clear, consistent guidelines to ensure employers know how to operate safely,” Holmes said. “I’m grateful for the spirit of cooperation that allowed us to work quickly and decisively to pass this plan.”

    Read more.

     


    Koehler works to provide financial relief for property owners

    Sen. Dave KoehlerSPRINGFIELD — To provide much needed flexibility and relief as businesses and counties begin to reopen, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored legislation that would give property owners the means to continue meeting the challenges presented by COVID-19.

    "I led the Senate’s economic revitalization working group with one goal in mind. We had to provide people with real, tangible solutions to the enormous challenges brought on by the pandemic,” Koehler said. “Implementing property tax relief measures and extending payment deadlines is where we have to start as we begin to work toward the recovery of our local economies.”

    Read more.

     

     


     

    MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

    Senator Rachelle Crowe, Glen Carbon: Crowe applauds suspension of proposed rule to penalize businesses | Advantage News

    Senator Sara Feigenholtz, Chicago: Both chambers pass cocktails-to-go measure | Herald & Review

    Senator Emil Jones III, Chicago: Illinois Senate OKs graduated tax language for ballot | Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

     


    Copyright 2020 - Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus - All Rights Reserved

    Subscribe to The Majority Report

    %MCEPASTEBIN%
  • Illinois Senate sends Fiscal Year 21 budget to the governor

    Sen. President Don Harmon

    Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and focusing on preserving vital services, the Illinois Senate passed a budget that prioritizes public health and safety and vital services.

    In order to protect people’s health, the budget provides additional funding to both the state’s health department and local health departments. It also expands programs that help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes, keeping them out of long-term care facilities that have been hit disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

  • Lightford highlights investment in Access to Justice Grant program

    Lightford060719SPRINGFIELD – Low-income and immigrant populations across Illinois will soon have access to legal representation under the state’s newly enacted spending plan.

    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) spearheaded the investment that was sparked by an initiative presented earlier this session.

    “Some of our most vulnerable populations are getting lost in a justice system that is, by design, difficult for them to navigate,” Lightford said. “Providing support for families who need legal services not only serves them, but also keeps us from incarcerating people who could be helped in a different way.”

  • Ellman votes to cut spending, provide fiscal stability and invest in education

    ellman 051019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of a balanced budget:

    “While Illinois’ financial problems can’t be fixed in one year’s budget, the plan we approved tonight puts us on track toward long-term fiscal stability. This budget is balanced and responsible. We’re making our full pension payments, providing stable support for our municipalities and investing in priorities that matter.

    “This plan includes record investments in P-12 education, increased funding for grants that help working and middle-class families send their kids to college and new funding for workforce development programming so that workers can get the training they need and businesses are able to find qualified applicants to fill positions.

    “By streamlining government services and cutting millions of dollars in administrative spending, we were able to balance our budget, invest in what matters most and give residents and businesses confidence in sticking with Illinois.”

  • Cunningham votes for balanced budget that prioritizes education

    cunningham 050919SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs, voted Friday in favor of a responsible, balanced state budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes greater investment in education at all levels.

    “I’m proud to support a bipartisan, balanced budget that reflects the priorities of our state,” Cunningham said. “With the turmoil of the last few years behind us, we’re showing our commitment to leading Illinois down a path toward certainty and stability.”

    Among the provisions in the budget are increases to education funding, including an additional $50 million for K-12 education that will bring property tax relief to homeowners. The plan also includes an extra $50 million for the MAP program and another $10 million for the AIM HIGH program, which provides grants to middle-income students who wish to pursue a college degree.

    “An investment in our students is an investment in the future of Illinois,” Cunningham said. “Education funding has always been a priority for me and I’m glad to see that we’re making a commitment to improving the quality and accessibility of public education in our state.”

    The budget also includes a full payment of the Illinois’ pension obligations for the seventh year in a row, the longest stretch in the state’s history.

    “In the past, the General Assembly had a bad habit of kicking the can down the road in regard to our pension commitments,” Cunningham said. “The theme in this budget is stability and that’s paying our full pension obligation provides and has provided for almost a decade.”

  • Senate Education Chair ensures Illinois’ schools receive record-setting investments

    jbt 050719SPRINGFIELD— Schools across the 49th State Senate District are set to receive record-level funding from the bipartisan budget passed by the Illinois State Senate.

    The Senate’s Education Chair, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, fought to ensure schools across Will and Kendall Counties received state funding as promised by the mandated education funding outlined in the monumental evidence-based funding formula.

    “Stability and predictability are essential to schools as they make financially sound decisions in the best interests of our children,” said Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). “If we want equity in our outcomes for students, we need equity in our state funding.”

    The budget allocates more than $544 million in dedicated funding to early childhood education to give Illinois kids a strong foundation before they enter kindergarten.

    “One of the most important investments we can make as a state is in our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Studies continue to emphasize that the time and money we allocate in educating students at an early age pays dividends in the future.”

    To fight the high property taxes that continue to burden working families across Illinois, the budget commits $50 million to support property tax relief.

    “Funding schools the right way will lead to lower property taxes,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “As we work to funding our schools at 100 percent adequacy levels, it is essential that homeowners are given relief from high property tax bills.”

    Bertino-Tarrant also championed House Bill 837 which would prohibit legislators from receiving raises in Fiscal Year 2020.

    “It is unacceptable for legislators to receive pay raises,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This measure will ensure we work together to move the state toward fiscal stability and economic growth by directing vital tax payer dollars to where desperately needed.”

    Bertino-Tarrant has refused a pay raise every year she has been in office.

  • Bennett supports budget plan to increase educational opportunities, strengthen social services

    bennett 032318SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted for progress for the second year in a row Saturday, passing a balanced budget that invests in public education at all levels and supports our most vulnerable Illinoisans.

    “I’m grateful for the hard work that’s gone into putting forth a State budget that focuses on the things that will keep Illinois moving forward,” Bennett said. “Under this budget, we are increasing educational opportunities and strengthening social infrastructure for families and communities throughout the state.”

    The approved budget appropriates $375 million in additional funding for K-12 education, $25 million more than required by the evidence-based school funding formula. It also includes $50 million in new funding for early childhood education programs.

    The plan also invests a five percent funding boost to higher education, including $35 million for the AIM High tuition grant program that provides additional assistance to Illinois students to remain in the state and attend public colleges and universities. MAP grants, upon which many college students also depend to fund their education, will also receive $451 million in funding.

    “From pre-school through college, this budget reflects the importance of educating our children and supporting them on their way to bright futures and lasting careers,” Bennett said.

    Bennett also voted to continue to rebuild the state’s critical human service network. Full funding for child care assistance program, homeless prevention services, autism program, addiction treatment and prevention services, the senior-based Community Care Program, youth employment services and several other necessary services are included. Additionally, a $12 million grant will also go to communities throughout the state for violence prevention programs.

    “Over the past few years, Illinois has balanced its budget by cutting critical funding for social services and it’s had a detrimental impact on how human and health services are delivered in this state,” Bennett said. “With this plan, we are prioritizing the most vulnerable in our state: children, families, and individuals living with developmental disabilities or mental health issues and seniors.”

    The budget will fund state government for Fiscal Year 2020, beginning July 1.

  • Steans: ‘Illinois is not merely surviving; we are thriving’

    steans 060219Balanced budget honors commitments, invests in state’s future

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), one of the Senate’s lead budget negotiators, issued the following statement after voting to approve a balanced budget:

    “This year’s budget cements our commitment to stability and our willingness and ability to put years of chaos behind us.

    “This is a responsible plan that honors our obligations while prioritizing programs that invest in the future of our state, like early childhood education and grants for college-bound students.

  • Hunter applauds budget investments for critical human services

    hunter 052819SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) issued the following statement after the Senate passed a budget package that invests in vital health and human service programs:

    “I am proud to support a budget plan that reflects our commitment to safeguarding the programs and services that make a tremendous difference in the day-to-day lives of Illinoisans.

    “Under this budget, we are investing in our communities by fully funding community mental health centers, youth employment services, addiction treatment and prevention services, and the child care assistance program.

    “I am also encouraged to see more investments in the programs our older population needs to continue to enjoy their communities and age comfortably and with dignity. I fought to ensure that those who care for seniors and individuals with disabilities receive a wage boost. Home health workers play a critical role in caring for our state’s most vulnerable individuals and deserve our support through fair and competitive salaries. Our budget includes much needed additional to funding to increase wages for these workers.”

  • Harmon: Budget keeps Illinois on path to stability

    harmon 040119SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) voted today for a responsible, balanced budget that keeps Illinois on its path to stability while funding much-needed programs for middle-class and working families.

    “This is a responsible and balanced while funding vital programs,” Harmon said. “We are continuing to honor our commitment to ending the chaos of past years and moving toward stability for our state.”

    The approved budget appropriates $375 million in additional funding for K-12 education, $25 million more than required by the evidence-based school funding formula. It also includes $50 million in new funding for early childhood education programs and expands eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program.

    Human service providers that are still struggling to recover from the previous governor’s budget crisis will receive millions in funding, from domestic violence shelters to early intervention programs.

    The budget also gives a long-awaited raise to home health care workers. Those who care for seniors and individuals with disabilities are set to receive an increase of approximately $3.50 per hour.

  • Fine, Senate approve balanced budget

    fine 030619SPRINGFIELD – A balanced budget passed the Illinois Senate today after receiving support from a majority of the body, including State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), who afterward issued the following statement:

    “Today I joined many of my colleagues in the Senate in passing a fiscally responsible, balanced budget for the next fiscal year. This budget will provide funding to essential human services, schools and universities in our state.

    “I’m thrilled at the investment this budget puts toward not just colleges and universities, but prospective students as well. We are investing in our students through an increase in MAP grants and the AIM HIGH. We need to show students in Illinois that we are willing to invest in their education and their futures.

    “This budget, although not perfect, will provide predictability for our providers, municipalities, schools, community colleges and universities. I will bring stability as our state moves into the next fiscal year”

    The budget passed the Senate as a series of several bills and must be approved by the House of Representatives before being sent to the governor. Should they receive the governor’s signature, they would go into effect July 1.

  • Gillespie approves balanced budget that prioritizes education, workforce training

    gillespie 032719SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) voted for the proposed budget that passed the Senate today, emphasizing the importance of its increased funding for education and skills training.

    “The budget we passed today creates a robust framework for workforce development,” said Gillespie. “Coupled with the bills I’ve passed this session, I believe that our manufacturing, health care and technological innovation industries will be revitalized and provide good-paying jobs in communities across the state.”

    Under the proposed budget for FY20, community colleges would receive an additional $20 million for skills training and workforce development programs. The appropriations for higher education would be increased by 5 percent, and Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants for college students would see an additional $50 million.

    “Not only does this budget prioritize the right areas, but it is fiscally sound,” said Gillespie. “We should see a multimillion-dollar surplus, and ensure a predictable business environment employers.”

    The budget will go to the House for concurrence before being sent to the governor.

  • Jones supports balanced budget to move Illinois toward economic stability

    jones 030519SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Emil Jones (D-Chicago) voted today for a budget that increases violence prevention grants, education and DCFS.

    “Our state was in a hostile place for a few years, but this year’s budget puts Illinois in better shape than before,” Jones said. “We are on a path toward stability and funding all the services Illinois needs.”

    “Additionally, the budget is funding a program that helps our kids escape violence and creates new career opportunities,” Jones said.

    The budget appropriates $12 million in grants to address violence prevention efforts state statewide, including downstate communities, Chicago and the suburbs.

    P-12 education will have record-breaking funding of $8.8 billion, and higher education will receive a 5 percent increase to support community college and universities.

    The Monetary Award Program (MAP) will receive $451 million in next year’s budget – a $50 million increase over last year.

    AIM HIGH, a program that works to reduce the costs of college for working and middle-class students, will receive an additional $10 million in funding, a move Jones hopes will help combat student out migration.    

    DCFS will receive an additional $100 million to hire 300 staff and caseworkers, reducing worker caseload and ensuring more attentive oversight for children and families under the agency’s care.

  • Peters: Budget provides services to those who need them most

    peters 051619SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate today passed a series of bills establishing a budget for the 2020 fiscal year. State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) voted in favor of these bills, passing a balanced budget during his first session in Springfield.

    “This budget is another step on a path to stability, and will provide much-needed services to the people who rely on them the most,” Peters said. “The state budget should be a tool to help those in need, and I’m proud to have been a part of ensuring that this year’s is.”

    The 2020 Fiscal Year budget provides funding increases to many services across the state, including the Department of Children and Family Services. It also increases funding for various educational programs, a detail Peters noted as being very important to him.

    “I’m particularly pleased to see how much more we’re investing in education,” Peters said. “The strength of a society can be measured by how well it looks out for future generations, and I think this makes us look pretty strong. We’re fulfilling our promise to invest in education.”

    The budget allocates $375 million for the evidence-based model of educational funding, surpassing the original estimate by $25 million. This includes $50 million in additional property tax revenue. In a separate provision, early childhood education will also receive an additional $50 million.

    “From preschool to college, this budget gives working and middle class families a way to pay for the education their children need,” Peters said. “Schools in black and brown communities have been struggling for decades, and I’m thrilled that this budget addresses some of that concern.”

    Peters also called attention to the funding the budget provides for DCFS and DHS programs and employees.

    “We’ll be investing $100 million to DCFS to allow that department to not only hire and train over 300 new employees, but also to provide wage increases to the folks who do these jobs,” Peters said. “They do some of the hardest and most necessary jobs in the state, and I’m happy that this budget provides them with a way to make it easier for them to pay their bills.”

    The budget also allocates some funds for violence prevention methods.

    “It takes more than just an increased police presence to help prevent violence. It also requires financial investment to treat the cause of the violence at its source,” Peters said. “I’m glad this budget recognizes this and provides effective means of keeping our communities safe.”

    The budget must be approved by the House of Representatives before being sent to the governor. With the governor’s signature, the budget approved by the Senate today would take effect July 1.

  • Castro reacts to Senate passing balanced budget

    castro 010919SPRINGFIELD Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) released the following statement after the Senate voted for a balanced budget Friday evening.

    “This budget represents hope for our state and brings stability to Illinois. I voted for this budget, not only because it is truly balanced, but because it funds the services that have been put on the back burner the last few years and the services that many people in my district rely on.

    “After living with the consequences of what a budget impasse did to higher education in our state, this budget makes higher education a priority, especially for students coming from working and middle-class families.

    “This budget increases MAP Grant funding by $50 million and gives the AIM HIGH program an additional $10 million. My hope is that this investment will give Illinois students a reason to continue their education here in the state and become working members of our communities.

  • Crowe commends Illinois’ commitment to fund education

    crowe 022019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) issued the following statement reacting to Illinois’ budget passing both chambers:

    “The budget focuses on supporting our students and bringing stability back into our state,” Crowe said. “I commend this General Assembly and the governor for sharing my passion for education and their pledge to invest more in both K-12 and higher education institutions.”

    Under the budget beginning July 1, 2019, school districts across the state will get $25 million more than required by the new, evidence-based school funding formula – an increase to $375 million from $350 million. A portion of that money, $50 million, is geared towards relieving home owners of some of their property tax burden.

    Higher education will also see a $50 million increase for college grants under the Monetary Award Program (MAP), totaling $451 million.

    Counties across the state will receive some much-needed funding to cover the cost of probation services and can also find alternate courts when applicable.

    “As a former prosecutor, I know the effect of the costs of probation. It’s critical to relieve some of the burden from communities that have been harmed by the effects of incarceration.”

    Numerous vital community programs will also see more funding from the state to expand services and increase wages for workers. Specifically, the Project for Autism will get a $500,000 increase to support individuals with autism.

    “Illinois has fulfilled its commitment to middle-class families with this budget, by making more investments into education and social services,” Crowe said. “This is a balanced budget, that is being fiscally responsible to taxpayers, and I am proud to support it.”