SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Margaret Croke, D-Chicago, issued the following statement Wednesday after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s annual State of the State and Budget Address:
“The budget we develop must reflect our values as a state, and that starts by prioritizing investment in affordable child care and investing in our education system. If we want every child to unlock their full potential, we must support every step of their development from early childhood through college. Let’s use our budget process as an opportunity to expand grants for students looking for help – such as the Monetary Award Program – as well as programs that work to recruit and retain high-quality teachers.
“I’m encouraged by the progress our state has made in recent years to get our fiscal affairs in order. We’ve improved our credit ratings, paid off billions in old unpaid bills and positioned ourselves to have greater financial flexibility. It’s critical that we continue to make smart choices, and responsibly use this year’s budget to help tackle the issues families are facing.
“I am particularly interested in seeing how we can better support behavioral health programs, housing assistance, reproductive freedoms, public safety, local school funding and other essential services that families depend on. The governor and I share a lot of similar priorities, and I look forward to further reviewing his proposed budget in detail.
“Today kicked off the budget process, and a lot of work still remains. I will continue to engage local stakeholders in the days ahead to make sure the final budget we pass represents our community as best as possible.”