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  • Writer's pictureJanet

3 New Ratings Upgrades, Town Hall, Budget Deep Dive, and More

In This Issue:

  • Three New Credit Rating Upgrades

  • Town Hall Sneak Peak

  • Budget Deep Dive: Funding for Developmental Disability Services

  • School Funding Correction and Accountability

  • Coffee & Conversation: This Saturday at Starbucks

Dear Friends,

One of the best things about the warmer weather and the legislative break is I have more opportunities to attend community events and meet you in your neighborhoods. Below are pictures of the past month of 41st District activities, including attending the Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremony, a demonstration of the new DuPage voting equipment, and our district’s recently completed document shred day. You can always follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute updates on these activities!

I’ve really enjoyed talking with many of you at these events and at your doors these past few weeks, sharing with you what my office and I are doing and listening to your concerns and feedback. The 41st district staff and interns will be joining me throughout the summer to talk with residents throughout the district, and I hope to see you soon.

Thank you in advance for opening your doors to us. Those conversations directly guide how I represent you in Springfield, how my office and I serve you in the district, and even what I cover in this newsletter. Please keep that feedback coming!




Three New Credit Rating Upgrades

Since I last wrote to you on April 29, Illinois has seen three new credit rating upgrades.

On May 5, Fitch announced a double ratings upgrade, with the state’s general obligation bonds moving to BBB+ from BBB-. According to the Fitch rating report, the upgrade reflects, “fundamental improvements in Illinois' fiscal resilience including full unwinding of pandemic-era and certain pre-pandemic non-recurring fiscal measures, meaningful contributions to reserves and sustained evidence of more normal fiscal decision-making.”

On May 6, S&P Global Ratings announced a new ratings upgrade for Illinois, moving our state’s general obligation bonds to BBB+ from BBB. S&P states: “The upgrade reflects what we view as improvement in the state’s financial flexibility and monthly revenue reporting transparency, continued timely budget adoption and elimination of the bill backlog, as well as recent surplus revenues being used to promote what we view as longer-term financial stability.”

These actions mark a total of six upgrades in the last 10 months. Prior to these actions, the last time Illinois saw an upgrade was more than two decades ago. Each upgrade helps us save hundreds of millions in interest payments, which allows us to invest more in our community and lower tax burdens for Illinois residents and businesses.

Town Hall Sneak Peak

Join me for our upcoming 41st District Town Hall, where we’ll cover the major legislation from 102nd General Assembly’s spring session and the notable activities coming from our district office.

What: 41st District Town Hall

Where: Facebook Live (no need for a Facebook account to participate)

When: Wednesday, June 8; 7:00 pm

Register below to receive event reminders, and we’ll also make sure to send a link to the recording if you’re not able to participate live.

I’ll be reporting out using Objectives and Key Results, a framework that I’ve often used in the private sector to drive change, transparency, and accountability. Below are the 41st District Objectives, which I established by talking with you throughout the last few years, as well as the main corresponding Key Results coming from the recently passed budget. We’ll go over these and more at the June 8 Town Hall.

Budget Deep Dive: Funding for Developmental Disability Services

I’ve heard lately from many community members advocating for funding developmental disability (DD) services, so I thought it would be worthwhile to do a deep dive into the main budget items affecting DD services. These line items are spread throughout the budget so can sometimes be hard to piece together to understand the total picture.

Overall, the new fiscal year 2023 budget (which covers the period from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023), invests $3.7 billion in services for people with disabilities, representing an increase of $369 million, or 11% over the FY22 budget. The funding increases include:

  • Increased grants for DD services by $227 million (+11% over FY22)

  • Increased support for Bureau of Rehabilitative Services by $12 million (+16% over FY22)

  • Increased $129 million for home services program, which provides services to allow persons with disabilities to live independently in their homes (+14% over FY22)

In addition, the FY23 budget continued making progress in the implementation of the Guidehouse Rate Study recommendations, increasing funding by $139 million. Since last year’s budget, progress has included:

  • Continuation of $1.50/hour direct support professional (DSP) rate increase established in FY22

  • Implementing additional $1/hour DSP rate increase starting January 1, 2023

  • Implementing Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA) rate calculator, which includes regional wage adjuster and several other calls to action outlined in Guidehouse Rate study

School Funding Correction and Accountability

Recently, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) discovered a coding error for the evidence-based funding formula (EBF) that helps determine how the state allocates education dollars between districts. As a result of this error, schools throughout Illinois received almost $88 million in additional funding from the state to help educate local students, including schools in our 41st district.

To correct this error, I worked to make sure that the General Assembly authorized ISBE to provide supplemental funds to make our district whole. I am also working to ensure that ISBE implements new measures to enhance the accuracy of EBF distributions and avoid similar errors in the future.

Coffee & Conversation: This Saturday at Starbucks

We generally hold the 41st District Coffee & Conversation on the last Saturday of each month. To avoid running into your Memorial Day weekend plans, though, we’ve moved up this month’s coffee to this Saturday.

Join us on May 21 at the Starbuck at 1043 S. Washington St. (at the corner of Washington and Gartner) to chat about the happenings in Springfield and our district!

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