Sen. Robert Peters

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus called a press conference Wednesday to offer their responses to Gov. JB Pritzker’s annual budget address.

Black Caucus leaders addressed the parts of the governor’s budget proposal relating to the ILBC’s four-pillar legislative agenda aiming to rid Illinois of systemic racism, improve academic opportunities for low-income and minority students, foster economic development in communities of color, and increase investments in minority-owned businesses and disadvantaged communities.

State Representative Sonya Harper (D-Chicago), Chair of the ILBC:

"Trying to balance a budget in the middle of a pandemic is definitely going to present some challenges. The Black Caucus wants to ensure our most vulnerable do not bear the brunt of cuts to direct services and other needed resources, especially when so many disparities already exist for these communities. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the General Assembly and the governor to come up with a sound budget plan that shields our Black communities.”

State Representative Buckner (D-Chicago), House Chair of the ILBC:

“This isn’t the first time Illinois has faced tough budget decisions and it won’t be the last, but I am committed to ensuring that we continue to invest in our future by protecting education funding and supporting job training and development. Especially as we work to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot turn our backs on programs that protect children, families and seniors.  

“A budget that is balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable Illinoisans is not a budget that will work for our state, morally or fiscally. Even with the difficulty the state faces, I am confident that working with the administration, legislators can help deliver a balanced budget that is fair and responsible while prioritizing critical needs including pandemic relief, jobs and schools.”

State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), Senate Chair of the ILBC:

"This is a good starting point for budget negotiations that doesn't rely on increasing the tax burden on working class families or cutting funding to crucial support services in the middle of a pandemic. As we move forward in the year and continue the negotiations, we need to ensure that equity is at the forefront of the conversations and that winning safety and justice in our communities is a top priority.

“The ILBC fought hard last month to move the pillars of our agenda through the General Assembly. Now that fight continues, and we will work hard every day to ensure that the means to fund the elements outlined by the pillars are in place."