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Ensuring resources are available for local communities to preserve their natural resources plays a huge role in environmental equity and access.

That’s why this year’s budget includes $50 million for the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grants that will help local governments enhance community park projects—on top of an additional investment in implementing health and equity zones to confront the social and environmental factors that contribute to systemic inequity.

To support increased access to nutritional foods, this year’s budget will send $30 million in new funding to the Department of Agriculture for the Local Food Purchasing Cooperative Agreement Program. The program supports local, regional and underserved farmers and producers through food purchasing agreements.

Further, the budget includes $10 million to start a Clean Energy Career and Technical Education pilot initiative to assist high schools with developing curriculum and programming that supports EV manufacturing technical education, and additional funding for EV and household energy efficiency rebates.

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This is a budget that invests in economic development, job training, business attraction and more to bring and create new jobs here in Illinois. The budget allocates $10 million for grants to minority entrepreneurs and another $10 million to help smaller communities offer incentives to attract job creators—encouraging diverse businesses to expand throughout the state.

Whether it is a young person finding their path after high school or someone looking to make a career change, Illinois is making robust investments to build a highly skilled and diverse workforce ready for the industries of the future. Increased investments to develop advanced manufacturing, EV technology and data center workforce training will further build the pipeline of qualified workers in key industries.

It also includes $10 million toward a new, multi-year initiative to develop and implement a one-stop business portal to assist people looking to start new businesses or relocate businesses to Illinois, fostering entrepreneurship and connecting them with business development resources.

The budget takes the diverse needs of the business community into account and takes steps to make it easier to do business in Illinois. By moving to phase out the franchise tax, allocating new funding to revitalize commercial corridors and providing an additional $40 million in forgivable loans to social equity cannabis licensees, this budget lays the foundation for a competitive business environment in every industry and community across the state.

MHE 100Safety net hospitals who serve some of the most vulnerable Illinoisans will receive additional funding in this budget to improve health equity, improve access to quality care, and reduce health disparities in underserved communicates. A total of $75 million for workforce recruitment grants will support safety net hospitals’ ability to recruit and retain health care professionals so more Illinoisans can get the care they need.

The budget also provides funding to support the state’s reproductive health access goals. The package includes $18 million to establish a hotline to connect those seeking abortion services with providers, expand training opportunities for primary care providers in abortion services, increase access to specialty consultation for abortion providers and fund the Abortion Care Clinical Training Program.

Additional investments will ensure our health care workforce is prepared to deliver high-quality health services to Illinoisans. The FY24 budget includes a number of measures that will fund retention, training and development initiatives to expand the health care workforce, including:

• A $2.50 per hour increase for Direct Service Providers who serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
• $19.3 million to increase staffing by 330 at state facilities that care for people who are developmentally disabled;
• $2 million for mental health training for frontline workers in the pediatric field;
• $2.5 million for the Community Health Worker certification program;
• $3 million for Equity and Representation in Health Care Work Force Repayment and Scholarship Programs; and
• A rate increase to provide a $17 per hour minimum wage for in-home workers providing long-term care to older Illinoisans.

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This year’s budget prioritizes education. From comprehensive early childhood programming to additional K-12 investments and critical funding for higher education and need-based financial aid, this measure will set our state’s education system up for success. Historic funding to eliminate preschool deserts will ensure that any child who needs a preschool spot can access one in their community.

In this budget, we continue the commitment of a $350 million in new funding toward the evidence-based funding model for K-12 education. Putting extra dollars into education funding will help improve outcomes and keep school districts from having to do a property tax levy to raise funds.

The budget also includes record funding for MAP grants—a program that provides financial assistance to college students—that will give thousands of first-generation and lower-income students the chance to seek higher education. This $100 million increase ensures nearly everyone at or below the median income level will have their tuition and fees fully covered between MAP and federal Pell grants.

School districts across the nation are facing an unprecedented shortage of qualified teachers. The FY24 budget invests $45 million into a new pilot program to build the teacher pipeline, fill vacancies and help reduce the shortage of education professionals in schools across Illinois.

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Office Info

District Office:
221 Springfield Ave., Unit 3
Joliet, IL 60435
(331) 290-0443
(815) 240-9057 [TEXT]

Springfield Office:
119B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8800