The Governor’s State of the State Address

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Today, Governor JB Pritzker delivered his annual State of the State and Budget Address at the State Capitol before the members of the General Assembly. Each year, the Governor lays out his priorities for the upcoming fiscal year and marks the beginning of the budget negotiating process between legislators, agencies, and the Governor’s Office.

The Governor’s address today builds on our shared commitment to pass fiscally responsible budgets while also making critical investments that help working families. The Governor’s budget proposal puts money back into the pockets of working families by permanently removing the grocery tax and introducing a child tax credit to support our most vulnerable parents. It also builds on our progress to spur economic development and attract new businesses with new capital investments for a quantum campus and infrastructure improvements.

As a mother of three, I understand how important it is to invest in our education system at every level, creating a brighter future for all Illinoisans. The Governor announced $400 million in investments to Smart Start Illinois, a multi-year program that invests in our youngest learners and our early childhood educators. These investments include adding 5,000 new preschool slots in underserved areas and creating over 4,000 childcare programs. The Governor also announced additional funding for public schools, investments in the Teacher Vacancy Grant Program, and $10 million in additional funding for MAP Grants.

The health and wellness of Illinois families is also a shared priority between myself and the Governor’s office. Governor Pritzker announced a $23 million investment in maternal healthcare services to fight disparities, which includes a $4.4 investment in community-based care centers to improve care for women of color. Last year, I introduced HB4400, which would allocate funds to start a pilot program to bring mobile healthcare vans across the state to close gaps in access to pre- and postnatal care. I was also extremely excited to hear the Governor call for eliminating “ghost networks” to help ensure those seeking out mental health treatment can rely on accurate provider directories from their healthcare provider. I recently introduced HB5313 to address this issue, and hope to see it pass in the coming months. To learn more about this piece of legislation I am championing, please visit here.

In recent years, members of the General Assembly have remained focused on rebuilding Illinois’ fiscal health by eliminating debt, putting more than $2 billion into the state’s rainy day fund, and paying down our pension payments to reduce future liabilities, saving taxpayers over $2 billion.

The Governor’s budget proposal is a strong starting point for the work ahead. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in the weeks and months ahead to negotiate and pass a final budget that invests in our future and continues our state on the path to fiscal success.