SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Democrats have agreed to a budget.
The governor joined Illinois Speaker of the House Chris Welch (D-Hillside), Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) in the capitol Wednesday afternoon to discuss the budget.
“I vowed to work with the General Assembly to bring fiscal sanity to Illinois while restoring a compassionate state government that invests in the things that build a stronger economy and future,” Pritzker said. “I’m pleased to say that’s exactly what this balanced budget does, for the fifth time in a row.”
Included in the budget is $250 million for Smart Start Illinois, which has a goal of making sure every child in Illinois can afford preschool.
Also included is more funding to help Illinoisans go to community college.
Welch and Harmon both planned very early into the year to be done with the session by May 19. The leaders issued a joint statement on the 19th that budget talks were productive, but they needed more time.
Now both chambers of the legislature are in session on Wednesday and Thursday, with the House also scheduled to meet Friday.
Some advocates wanted more from the budget. For example, rehabilitation workers lobbied to raise their pay by $4 an hour, but the budget only accounts for a $2 raise for DSPs.
“We are grateful for the dollars invested in recent state budgets to help our workers support those they serve.” Josh Evans, the president of Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities said. “But we must speak up now and urge the Governor and Legislature to reconsider the wage increase in the latest budget proposal and move closer to the $4 an hour increase we and our legislator champions have advocated.”
Republicans are also mad items like the Invest in Kids Scholarship, which gave low-income families scholarships to go to private schools, and tax credits for Research and Development were not included in the budget.
“Today we learned from Governor Pritzker and Democratic leaders that our shared priorities are not included,” Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savana) said. “I am incredibly disappointed for Illinois families.”
Pritzker will need to sign the budget before the new fiscal year starts July 1.
This is a developing story that will continue to be updated.