castro mental 050521SPRINGFIELD – The governor has signed legislation sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) that will ensure local sales tax revenue approved by Winnebago county voters is used for mental health and substance abuse resources.

“The voters spoke. They said they want this money to go towards mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. I want to ensure it does,” Stadelman said.

In March of 2020, the residents of Winnebago County passed a referendum that increased the county’s sales tax rate. The additional revenue from the increase is meant to go to community-based mental health and substance abuse resources and support. This law requires counties that have approved this sales tax referendum to create seven-member boards made up of health advocates and professionals to help administer the funding produced by the referendum, as the taxpayers intended.

The county expects to see up to $14 million in additional revenue a year for these programs.

“This legislation eliminates barriers to mental health and substance abuse treatment by supporting private sector and non-profit alternatives to handling these public health crises. It does so by creating a greater number of access points to treatment. It allows counties to gap-fill specific services and shape mental health and substance abuse treatment according to the needs of the community, rather than through an arbitrary statewide mandate that will help the communities most in need,” said David Gill, President of NAMI Northern Illinois.

Senate Bill 2278 has been signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker and takes Jan. 1, 2022.