Budget, Credit Upgrade, Legislation, and Events
In This Issue:
New Credit Rating Upgrade
Legislative Highlight: Substitute Teacher Shortage Relief
Coffee & Conversation
Mobile Secretary of State
Citizen Advisory Panels
Heroes and Helicopters
Dear Friends, April brought the end of the regular legislative session, and with it, the passing of the new fiscal year 2023 budget. Budgets are more than just numbers on a spreadsheet—budgets reflect our values and our community’s priorities. The recently signed FY23 budget reflects major investments in students, families, and communities. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the major areas of investment. I’ll cover the budget plus other legislative highlights at my June 8 Town Hall, which I hope you’ll attend. In fact, my office and I are hosting a series of events throughout the spring and summer: From a Document Shredding Day to Citizen Advisory Panels and a Heroes & Helicopters showcase, there’s something for all 41st District residents. I look forward to seeing you there, and in the meantime, please never hesitate to let me know if there are other ways that my office or I can be of service to you and your family. Sincerely, Janet
Budget Overview At the end of this Spring’s legislative session, the General Assembly passed the fourth balanced budget in a row and the second in a row with a surplus. I deeply appreciate all who took the time to respond to my survey regarding management of the state’s budget surplus. I received a wide range of responses, with the vast majority expressing a desire to help those who need it, as well as to make inroads in paying down our state’s debt. Bringing this data to the negotiating table made a great impact in amplifying our district's collective voice, and I believe my colleagues and I found a good balance between these twin desires with the following results:
$400M in consumer savings from one year grocery tax suspension
$70M in relief with six month gas tax freeze
$520M property tax break via 5% rebate, up to $300 per household
$685M via rebates of $50 per adult and $100 per dependent (up to three dependents) for eligible tax filers
$50M savings from back-to-school sales tax holiday on clothing and school supplies from August 5-14.
Eliminated bill backlog, saving $150M per year in interest. Accounts payable are now on a 15-day cycle—well below private sector norms.
Fully funded College Illinois pre-paid tuition plan with $230M contribution, saving $75M in future payments
Contributed $500M above required pension liability payment, resulting in a $1.8B reduction in long-term liabilities
Paid $989M to state employee group insurance fund, saving $100M in late interest payments
Added $1B to Rainy Day fund--these are the first deposits made in 18 years
Paying down these debts saves us on interest and other charges and provides a much-needed buffer in leaner years. Making these concerted inroads to paying down our state debts was important, and so was investing for our state’s and our resident’s futures. Here are some of the highlights:
Education: Funding changes reflect a prioritization of longterm investments that builds an educated, highly skilled workforce, including an additional $350M to fully fund Evidenced-Based Funding model for K-12 schools and 5% funding increase to public universities and community colleges.
Public Safety: New spending reflects what local law enforcement said was most important to them, including funding for body cameras, training, and officer retention program grants. With 300 new troopers, we funded the largest Illinois State Police new cadet class in years and invested $1B in domestic violence, youth employment, and diversion programs that address root causes of crime.
Economic Development/Environment: These two areas are inextricably linked in this year’s budget, with tens of millions in new funds dedicated to building a ready pool of trained professionals for the green economy, as well as ensuring Illinois’ place as a national hub for manufacturing of electric vehicles and their component parts.
Social Safety Net: By making sure they have the resources they need, we are taking care of our most vulnerable, including increasing grants for developmental disability services by $227M (11% increase) and appropriating an additional $129M to home services programs (14% increase). Funding also included $250M to hire additional Department of Children and Family Services staff and create new residential capacity.
Healthcare: We continue to make healthcare more accessible to all Illinoisians, including hundreds of million in funding for safety net hospitals, which was a top priority for our district’s healthcare providers. To address worker shortages, we waived licensing fees for almost 470,000 frontline healthcare workers and appropriated tens of millions to nursing scholarships and higher education grant programs.
Below are pictures of the budget bill signing, which was held at Chicago State University on April 19 and included Governor JB Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, and lead House budgeteer Leader Greg Harris.
New Credit Rating Upgrade The responsible fiscal action made in this latest budget prompted Moody’s Investor Services to issue a new credit ratings upgrade for Illinois, representing the third upgrade in the past year from the major credit ratings agencies. Prior to these upgrades, the last time the state had seen an upgrade was in 2000. In its ratings report, Moody’s cites the state’s use of tax revenue growth to shrink its bill backlog, rebuild its reserves (Rainy Day Fund), and increase pension contributions as reasons for the upgrade. The prior June 2021 upgrade from Moody’s credited Illinois’ “material improvements” with only “constrained use of federal aid.” These upgrades materially lower the interest rates that Illinois must pay when issuing bonds, allowing us to invest more in our community and return funds to taxpayers.
Legislative Highlight: Substitute Teacher Shortage Relief Effective immediately upon HB5472’s Friday, April 22 signing by Governor JB Pritzker, we're helping to relieve substitute teacher shortages by allowing more retired teachers back in the classroom without harming their retirement benefits. Retirees in our school districts talked with Senator Laura Ellman and me about how they and their students needed this legislation to keep classrooms running smoothly. We worked closely with Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, and school management groups like LEND (Legislative Education Network of DuPage) to expedite the passage of this bill. I want to especially thank senate sponsors, Senator Robert Martwick and Senator Laura Ellman, as well as my colleagues in the General Assembly for supporting this and for everyone's hard work to make this happen.
Events Just as important as my Springfield work is the work that my office and I do in the district. In fact, it’s primarily district activities and constituent feedback that drives my priorities and work in Springfield. To that end, you and your families should have received the below Calendar of Activities postcard in your mailboxes in recent weeks. While the “History Ahead” panel with Naper Settlement has already occurred (watch it online), we have a great slate of events taking place throughout the spring and summer, including:
April 30, Coffee and Conversation. Join us on the last Saturday of each month to chat about Springfield and district happenings. We’ll be meeting by Zoom this Saturday at 10 am.
May 7, Document Shredding Day. Join Senator Laura Ellman and me at the Naperville 95th Street Library from 9 to 11 am to safely dispose of your sensitive documents.
June 8, Town Hall. I’ll be on Facebook Live at 7 pm to discuss the legislative session, highlight district activities, and answer your questions.
July 8, Mobile Secretary of State. Senator Ellman and I will be at Nichols Library from 10 am to 2 pm with the Secretary of State’s office to help expediate your renewal of drivers’ licenses and state IDs, as well as access other official services.
Throughout July, Citizen Advisory Panels. Like last year, I’m hosting a series of working groups on issues such as healthcare, education, and women’s rights to better understand how to serve our communities needs and priorities in these areas.
August 20, Heroes & Helicopters: A Community Safety Showcase. Working with our local law enforcement and first responder agencies, Senator Ellman and I are holding a community event that will allow kids (and the kids in all of us!) to see emergency vehicles up close, including a helicopter landing!
You can find more information about all of these events at RepYangRohr.com as each date approaches.