Illinois Legislative Session Recap: State Budget Passed, Fair Tax News, and more
This past weekend, the Illinois General Assembly passed the state budget for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which begins July 1, 2019. The final budget, which Governor Pritzker indicates he will sign into law, provides significant investments in the state’s early childhood system, including:
- $28.8 million increase to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which the Department of Human Services has indicated will be used to increase income eligibility to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) from 185 percent of FPL and for much-needed program outreach and recruitment
- $50 million increase to the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to expand and improve birth-to-five early childhood services, including Prevention Initiative and Preschool for All.
- $12 million increase to the Early Intervention (EI) to accommodate the state’s growing caseload, and other opportunities to strengthen the EI system
- Level funding for IDHS evidence-based home visiting programs for expectant and new parents through the Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon programs
- $100 million for the Early Childhood Construction Grant (ECCG) program in the state’s new capital bill. This will provide a grant opportunity for school districts and child care centers to build new or update existing classrooms for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers across the state
As a path toward sustainable revenue to pay for necessary investments in the state’s priorities, the General Assembly also voted to put the Fair Tax constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot. In the 2020 general election, Illinois voters will have the opportunity to vote on whether Illinois should amend the state constitution to adopt a fair, progressive income tax structure, rather than the current flat tax.
Should the amendment be adopted, more than 97 percent of people will either pay the same or less in taxes, while the state increases revenue by $3.4 billion to pay down our back log of bills and invest in programs like early childhood.
Several other important early childhood bills have been approved by the legislature and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration, including:
- SB 1952 – eliminates the Basic Skills Test requirement for future teachers and allows for the payment of student teachers in schools and child care centers
- HB 2237 – creates a Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program, which would open automatically an account for every child born or adopted in Illinois
Illinois Action for Children applauds the Illinois General Assembly, its leaders, and the Governor for working together to develop a full-year, fully-funded budget that invests in critical supports for Illinois’ youngest children and their families. We encourage you to call and thank your legislators as well!