SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Rachel Ventura was encouraged by the funding for education and local initiatives in the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget.

“It’s critical to have a good education at an early age,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “Not only are there major investments for early education, but also higher education. Investing in resources that afford everyone with the opportunity to receive a quality education, regardless of their ZIP Code, is vital to ensure our youth is prepared for what comes after school.”

The budget includes investments for Smart Start IL, a $250 million investment to fund the childcare workforce, expand the Early Intervention Program and Home Visiting Programs, plus funding to begin the overhaul of the childcare payment management system.

Additionally, the budget includes $100 million in additional MAP grant funding, which ensures everyone at or below the median income can go to community college for free and an increase for public universities and community colleges – the highest increases in more than two decades.

Ventura, however, expressed concerns over the lack of new revenue streams that would relieve the tax burden for working families, and ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. Ventura sponsored SB 2351, a proposal that would generate additional revenue on financial transactions typically only available to the wealthy.

“While the budget is a positive step forward for many working class families, we also need to take a serious look at how we prioritize what we allocate and how we allocate it,” said Ventura. “We can’t tout smart spending decisions when we are failing to fully fund our schools, we don’t meet the actuarial calculations on pensions, and we aren’t properly funding our local governments. I have been steadfast in my leadership to find new revenue streams to fund the child tax credit and will continue to fight for those in my district.”

“The budget passed today takes positive steps toward increasing workforce development, job creation and accessibility to higher education,” said Ventura. “I remain committed to making Illinois the most inclusive and prosperous state in the nation.”

Ventura stands firm in her belief that the state must add additional ways to increase revenue, which would in turn provide financial assistance to all sectors – from increasing pay for direct support professionals and in-home providers to expanding funds for planting trees.

While Ventura was discouraged that a number of her legislative priorities did not make it into the final budget – despite her tireless efforts and willingness to fight for a seat at the table – a number of local projects she led efforts to fund received a total of $250,000 respectfully:

  • Stepping Stones (Substance Abuse Treatment)
  • Will County Habitat for Humanities (Housing)
  • Will Grundy Medical Clinic (Medical services, and housing for homeless)
  • Holsten Human Capital Development (Food Pantry and Housing)
  • Spanish Community Center (Food pantry and immigrant services)

The budget passed the Senate Thursday.