BALANCED BUDGET SCORE: PRITZKER: 5… RAUNER: ZERO!
By Joanna Williams
Building on 4 years of fiscally responsible leadership, Governor Pritzker signed the fiscal year 2024 budget into law on June 7, 2023, delivering his fifth balanced budget while making transformative investments in early childhood, K-12 schools, higher education, workforce and economic development, and efforts to fight violence and poverty.
The fiscal year 2024 budget prioritizes fiscal responsibility by contributing an additional $200 million to the state’s pension systems beyond what is required, by continuing to pay down the state’s remaining outstanding debts, and by making ongoing contributions to the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund, set to surpass $2 billion.
Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget:
- Early Childhood Education and Childcare Funding – $250 million to fund the first year of Smart Start Illinois, the Governor’s early childhood initiative to eliminate preschool deserts, stabilize the childcare workforce, and expand the Early Intervention and Home Visiting Programs. In addition, $1.6 million to launch Dolly Parton’s “Imagination Library” which allows families to register their children to receive free, high-quality books in the mailbox from birth to age five, no matter the family income.
- Health and Human Services – Nearly $75 million increase for DCFS to hire 192 staff, $500 million in new state and federal funds to support the Illinois health care system, $42.5 million in grants to counties and cities for their costs associated with asylum seekers.
- Public Safety and Violence Prevention – $250 million for the Reimagine Public Safety Act to prevent gun violence and expand funding for youth employment, $16 million to hire and train 200 additional sworn state troopers.
- Environmental Initiatives – $268 million for energy efficiency rebates, $70 million for transportation electrification and charging stations.
“From the beginning I promised to work together with the General Assembly to restore fiscal responsibility to our state government after years of mismanagement. Thanks to our firmer fiscal foundation we have been able to put billions of dollars back in the pockets of Illinois taxpayers while investing in our future” – Governor Pritzker.