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Senate Black Caucus delivers full balanced budget

blk caucus 052517With the end of session looming, the Senate Black Caucus led the charge on presenting and passing a full balanced Senate budget. When it became apparent that partisan lines were drawn and the governor wanted to further hurt our state’s most vulnerable populations, the Senate Black Caucus stood together to provide the necessary votes.

Assistant Majority Leader Caucus Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), joint chairwoman of Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, said in a statement, “We made an effort today to prevent the governor from causing more suffering to our most vulnerable populations with a plan that gives our state stability.”

The Senate Black Caucus accepted the responsibility of voting on a combination of cuts, reforms and revenue that will bring stability to a state that has been brought to the brink of devastation by the governor and his inability to do the job. With this measure, universities and community colleges will see more money than they’ve received in the past two years, students would receive MAP grant funding and a variety of human service programs the governor has proposed cutting would be reinstated.

In addition, $330 million in added funding for public schools and $35 million extra for early childhood programs was included. Funding was prioritized for grants for after-school programs and advanced-placement classes.

Illinois has gone without a budget for two years, and people and institutions are suffering immensely under the governor’s preferred approach, which apparently begins and ends with doing nothing and then blaming everyone around him for the fallout.

“Every week that goes by without acting, Illinois digs itself deeper and deeper into a financial hole that will eventually be impossible to dig out of. It’s past time to do something for the good of our state,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights). As chairwoman of the Senate Black Caucus, she has been an advocate for doing what is necessary to ensure families around our state have access to beneficial resources.

Hutchinson was lead Senate sponsor of Senate Bill 9, which doubles the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable tax credit for working families that has been credited with lifting millions above the poverty line since its creation in the 1980s. 

The budget now moves to the House of Representatives where it will be deliberated.