Senate President Don Harmon

SPRINGFIELD – 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.

“The governor’s proposal is a good start. Senate Democrats look forward to the discussion of how to balance our serious needs with fiscal realities in the weeks and months ahead,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “My goal is to cross the finish line with a bipartisan, balanced budget that reflects our shared goals of responsibility and security and invests in key priorities for the State of Illinois.”

The governor’s Fiscal Year 25 budget proposal is built on five years of historic fiscal progress that included balanced budgets, nine credit rating upgrades, eliminating the bill backlog and more. It includes funding for public safety, social services, environmental resources and more.

Prioritizing education – from early childhood to college – is a key highlight of the governor’s proposed budget. It calls for $75 million that would add 3,000 additional slots in preschool deserts and continues the commitment of a $350 million increase toward the evidence based funding model for K-12 education.

Further, it includes an increase of MAP funding – which would allow 146,000 students to benefits from the grants and additional students at or below median income levels to have their tuition and fees covered through MAP and federal Pell Grants.

“We have to continue our commitment to adequately funding our schools. As chair of the Senate Appropriations Education Committee, I want to see us invest in K-12 education to ensure students get a quality education that sets them up to be lifelong learners,” said State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “When we prioritize funding education, we are giving people a break on their property taxes.”

Recognizing the need of public safety initiatives, the proposed budget would include allocations for law enforcement and violence prevention. It calls for funding to hire and train two state trooper cadet classes, address firearm violence, and more.

“I appreciate that violence prevention and public safety remain a priority in the governor’s proposal this year. It is crucial we continue to invest our communities, specifically those with limited resources, so we can reduce crime and keep our neighborhoods safe,” said State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea). “As the chair of the Senate Appropriations - Public Safety and Infrastructure Committee, it is my duty to ensure we prioritize funding in these areas.”

The proposal also calls for funding to help launch the state-based marketplace – which expands affordable health care for Illinois residents. The money would ensure the success of the rollout of the first open enrollment period, which is set to begin Nov. 1, 2025.

“As we prepare to roll out the state-based insurance marketplace, investments in staffing and outreach efforts, paired with funding for Get Covered Illinois, will allow us to effectively ramp up access to affordable health care,” said Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “By strengthening health care options, bolstering mental health resources and uplifting our direct support professionals, we are investing in the well-being of our residents and the long-term vitality of our state.”

Alongside prioritizing education, health care, public safety and more, the proposed budget would ensure smart spending decisions are still made by growing the state’s Rainy Day Fund, investing more money into retirees and continuing to pay down the bill backlog.

“The governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2025 is a good first step toward investing in educating our students, protecting our most vulnerable populations, and preparing for our future, but our work is far from done,” said Majority Appropriations Leader Elgie R. Sims, Jr. “I look forward to joining my colleagues in the General Assembly in having a robust discussion about this year’s budget and passing a budget that is balanced, fiscally sound, and addresses the very real needs of the people of this great state.”

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