harmon mask 111020SPRINGFIELD – Members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus heard the governor’s state budget proposal Wednesday and will immediately begin bipartisan, bicameral conversations to bring forth a balanced budget that prioritizes Illinoisans in all corners of the state.

“I’m not accustomed to good news in a budget speech. This is a budget proposal unlike any I’ve seen in my time in the Senate,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “It speaks to the work we’ve done, together, to bring stability to our state finances. That stability allows us to invest back in our state and provide relief to those hit hardest by the pandemic and associated economic downturn.”


Building upon the success of the FY 22 budget, the proposed FY 23 budget would continue to set the state on a path toward fiscal responsibility by repaying all COVID-related borrowing, paying off millions in delayed insurance bills and contributing additional dollars to the Pension Stabilization fund.


“This is a responsible proposal that shows a strong and vibrant economy here in the state of Illinois that has continued to prepare us for the future,” said Senator Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) who is the Senate’s chief budgeeter.

To provide well-deserved and much-needed relief and assistance for people hardest hit by the pandemic, the proposed budget calls for a one-year waiver of license fees for frontline health care workers, as well as for liquor license fees for bars and restaurants. According to the governor’s proposal, this will save workers and small business owners approximately $38 million.

“As our communities, working families and small businesses continue to face grave financial struggles brought forth by the ongoing pandemic, it is vital we provide them with tax relief,” said Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford). “This budget does just that by ensuring families are taken care of, while continuing to fully fund our education system and other important items to help our state thrive.”

Further, the budget considers the struggle many families face when considering sending their children off to college. It increases need-based financial aid by $122 million to $601 million – allowing an additional 24,000 students to take advantage of the assistance. It also increases the maximum grant award to $8,508 – which is nearly half a year’s worth of tuition at a state university. Under this plan, we will have increased MAP funding 50% over the last four years.

“As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of our colleges and universities must be met,” said Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “The governor’s proposal makes important commitments to help alleviate the struggle many families face when considering sending their children off the college.”

Members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus will now spend the following weeks negotiating the budget.

“There’s a lot to like with this plan, and I look forward to working with the governor to produce a final product,” Harmon said.