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  • Writer's pictureJanet

State of the State & Budget Highlights, Women's History Month, Coffee

Updated: Mar 11

In This Issue

  • State of the State Highlights

  • Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Proposal

  • Women’s History Month Panel: Naturalist May Watts

  • Coffee & Conversation


 

Dear Friends,

 

Happy Leap Day! While this day only rolls around once every four years, once every year at this time, our Illinois Governor provides a State of the State address and budget proposal for the next fiscal year (FY25). I’ve provided highlights of both, below.

 

I’m broadly supportive of many of the initiatives that Governor Pritzker has outlined, especially when it comes to investing in education. For example, the proposal puts us on a solid path to providing universal pre-K by 2027, including funding the creation of a new early childhood department and creating 5,000 new preschool seats in FY25. Data shows that investments in our earliest learners produce some of the greatest improvements in outcomes. The state has also demonstrated an ability to execute on these ambitions, exceeding its FY24 goal to create 5,000 new preschool seats by more than 15%.

 

It’s important to note, though, that the budget presented last week is just a proposal. Much will happen between now and when we have an approved budget, such as changing economic conditions and updated revenue projections. As a member of the appropriations committees for both K-12 and higher education, I’ll be working with stakeholders throughout our community to go through the budget on a line-by-line basis as well as with the leadership in other appropriation committees to make sure our community’s priorities and needs are represented in the coming budget.

 

If you ever want to go into more depth on these topics, consider joining one of my monthly Coffee & Conversations. This month, we had a lively discussion about potential changes to the estate tax, using schools as voting places, and the White Sox’s asking for state dollars to build a stadium (I married into a White Sox family, but I’m not a fan of that last one).

 

As always, please never hesitate to contact my office or me if we can be of service.

 

Sincerely,

 

Janet

 

 

 

State of the State Highlights

Governor Pritzker had a number of great anecdotes throughout his State of the State and budget address (which you can read in full here), including how the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum came to acquire an original, handwritten version of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The story he told--of Illinois’ school children in 1943 collecting their pennies and nickels to help raise $60,000--showed how they used their ingenuity, sacrifice, and patriotism to do something important for our state’s future.

 

Pulling together can bring results that reverberate for generations, and the State of the State address highlighted many of the accomplishments and ways we have moved forward as a state in recent years. Here’s a sampling:

 

Budget Fiscal Health

 

Business and Economy

 

National Rankings

 

 Shown below, Governor Pritzker delivers his 2024 State of the State Address. 




Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Proposal

More than just a spreadsheet of accounts and numbers, the budget is a numerical representation of our values and priorities as a state and a community. I’ve highlighted, below, the notable changes proposed in the coming year’s budget within the areas that have typically been the most important to our district.

 

Overall Projections

  • The overall proposed FY25 budget of $52.993 billion is $777 million higher than the FY24 budget, the latter of which was revised upwards by $1.605 billion due to various sources, like higher than expected investment returns and federal Medicaid matching dollars.

  • The FY25 budget is about $733 million lower than the FY23 base and would result in a budget surplus of $298 million. Under current state statute, at least $170 million of this surplus would be reserved in the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund.

  • When this FY24 closes at the end of June, we’re projecting to have a surplus of $273 million, $205 million of which is required to be reserved in the Rainy Day Fund.

 

Education

  • Early Childhood/ Pre-K: Expansion of early childhood education by $75 million, moving toward goal of universal early childhood by 2027. Adds more than 5,000 new preschool slots.

  • Kindergarten-12th Grade: Additional $350 million for K-12 public schools via evidence-based funding; represents more than $1.5 billion in new funding in last six years.

  • Higher Education: $100 million in new funding for college financial aid, going toward 146,000 student access scholarships; Additional $30.6 million for public universities and community colleges’ operating costs.

 

Community Safety

  • More than $100 million for first responder training and resources, such as in-car cameras, non-lethal weapons, and two new State Police cadet classes

  • Gun violence prevention:

    • $1 million to raise awareness of red flag laws

    • $2 million for safe gun storage

 

Healthcare

  • $10 million to cancel $1 billion of medical debt via 1 cent/dollar buyout

  • $19 million in new funding for mental health services, including inpatient and outpatient care, as well as 988 suicide hotline

  • $35 million for Children’s Behavior Health Transformation initiative

  • $109 million in new funding for Community Care Program to provide in-home care for estimated 69.000 seniors

 

Developmental Disability Community

  • $100 million to continue accelerating Guidehouse rate increase for direct service providers, effective January 1, 2024

  • $16 million additional funds to support Ligas consent decree

 

Property Tax Relief

  • Additional $100 million for cities and villages through local government distributive fund

  • Additional $350 million in new funding for school districts

 

Environment

  • Electric vehicles

    • $12 million for EV rebates

    • $24.8 million for EVs and charging infrastructure by Central Management Services

    • $10 million for EV-focused vocational training

  • Clean Energy

    • $56 million for Illinois Solar for All program

    • $28 million for Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Initiative Fund

  • Clean Water

    • $50 million for coal ash remediation and closure program

    • $20 million new funding for Lead Service Line Replacement Inventory (LSLR) grants, in addition to $340.8 million reappropriation for LSLR loans

 

Revenue/Tax Changes

  • Elimination of 1% grocery tax, projected to save about $400 million for taxpayers

  • Smaller increase of standard tax deduction for state taxes, to $2,550 from $2,425 per person; rather than $2,775; results in total tax savings for 11 million taxpayers of $93 million rather than $167 million

  • Sales tax credit cap to $1,000 per month. Cap would raise about $101 million for state and $85 million for local governments. Under this change, 99% of retailers will see no change.

  • Increase sports wagering tax to 35% from 15%. Expected to generate additional $200 million in general funds.

  • Continue cap on net operating loss businesses can claim, expanding cap to $500,000 from $100,000; was scheduled to end in 2025 tax year. Expected to result in $526 million in additional revenue.

 

Shown below, my colleagues and me getting ready to attend the State of the State & Budget Address.



Women’s History Month Panel: Naturalist May Watts

March is Women’s History Month, and there are many ways to celebrate the achievements and vital roles of women at the national- and state-level throughout the month. At a more local level, please join me and an expert panel to learn more about naturalist and educator May Watts, who has both a school and park named in her honor within our 41st district. She and a small group of dedicated volunteers helped to establish the Illinois Prairie Path in 1963, and her work has had a dramatic impact on our community.


Our panel will include Dr. William Barnett, Professor of History at North Central College, Mary Lou Wehrli, who consulted with May Watts to advocate for building nature trails in our community, and others.

 

What: Women’s History Month Panel Celebrating Naturalist and Educator May Watts

When: Thursday, March 14, 2024, 7:00 pm

Where: Facebook Live (no need to have a FaceBook account to join), https://fb.me/e/x3xjC4upn

 




Coffee & Conversation

We’re holding our monthly Coffee & Conversation a little earlier this month to make it easier for those with spring break plans to attend. I hope you’ll join your neighbors and me for this monthly ritual where we share updates on community and Springfield happenings.

 

What: March Coffee & Conversation

When: Saturday, March 16, 2024, 10:00 am

Where: 41st District Office, 475 River Bend Rd, Suite 500, Naperville

 

 



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