Sen. Sims

Senate Democrats prioritize education, public safety and more in FY 25 budget

Building upon the responsible spending decisions the Illinois Senate Democratic caucus made and balanced budgets they’ve passed in recent years, they passed a smart spending plan Sunday to make Illinois a better place to live, work and raise a family.

“As chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I set a goal that our budget would serve the best interests of the people of Illinois," said Senate Majority Appropriations Leader Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago). "By promoting economic growth, supporting education, ensuring public safety and enhancing the overall well-being of our communities, we will build a stronger, more prosperous and more equitable future for all residents of our great state.

The Fiscal Year 2025 budget represents a number of shared priorities of the caucus, including investing in educating children, protecting our state’s most vulnerable, keeping communities safe, and modernizing our infrastructure.

Highlights include:

Fiscal Responsibility – 6th balanced budget

  • This budget builds on five years of historic fiscal progress with balanced budgets, nine credit rating upgrades, the elimination of the bill backlog, and more.
  • Alongside the smart spending decisions of the previous fiscal years, the budget continues to pay down our bills, invest more money into retirees through fully funding pensions, and save for the future.

Early Childhood Education

  • $14 million to launch the Department of Early Childhood – a new agency to focus on administering early childhood education programs
  • An additional $75 million will be sent to the ISBE Early Childhood Block Grant – putting in place 5,000 more slots in preschool deserts
  • $36.5 million to support higher participation in the Child Care Assistance Program

K-12 Education

  • Continues the commitment of a $350 million increase toward the evidence-based funding model for K-12 education
    • The state will topple $2 billion toward the evidence-based funding model since its inception with this investment
  • $10.3 million increase for Career and Technical Education programs
  • $3 million for State Literacy Plan Implementation – a roadmap to enhance and unify core literacy instruction efforts statewide
  • $45 million for the Teacher Vacancy Grant Pilot Program

Higher Education

  • $700 million for Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding
    • In Fiscal Year 2025, a projected 146,000 students could benefit from MAP Grants – up from 126,864 in 2019
  • $8 million for the Minority Teacher Scholarship Program

Violence Prevention and Public Safety

  • Funding to hire and train 200 new state troopers – a total of two new cadet classes
  • $200 million to the Restore, Reinvest, Renew (R3) program
  • $45 million to build up the Reimagine Public Safety grant program
  • $200 million to enhance after-school and summer youth programs

Health and Human Services

  • $290 million for HOME Illinois
  • $2.4 billion for services for people with developmental disabilities, including a $1 per hour wage increase for Direct Support Professionals
  • $155 million for safety net hospitals
  • $50 million for a child tax credit for eligible low-income families with EITC


Memorial Day

Senate Democrats honor fallen service members on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus honor the men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and lost their lives in the line of duty.

“As an Army veteran who was deployed in Iraq during one of the deadliest periods of the conflict, Memorial Day makes me very emotional,” said State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort). “In those situations, you form incredible connections with your fellow soldiers. Those friendships were the best part of my experience in the military, and it is devastating that some of those people were there one moment and gone the next. I spend Memorial Day honoring those who served with me who lost their lives defending our country, and commit to supporting veterans returning home.”

To observe the holiday and remember the lives of outstanding service members in their districts, several members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus spoke during session about their experiences in the armed forces, and to recognize loved ones who were tragically killed in action.

“Too often, we remember those who were killed in action as larger-than-life heroes who are far removed from us, and we forget they were also people with hopes, dreams, and a love for our country,” said State Senator Mike Porfirio (D-Lyons Township), a Navy veteran. “These individuals had hobbies, interests and career aspirations just like us. This Memorial Day, I want to honor my friends who made the ultimate sacrifice by sharing stories of our great times together, celebrating them not only for their heroic contributions but also for the multifaceted people they were.”

Members are sending to support to loved ones of those killed in the line of duty, and expand their efforts to address their needs.

“Memorial Day is also a time to recognize the grief and perseverance of the families and loved ones of our military members who are often overlooked,” said State Senator Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights), who is a Vietnam veteran and the newest member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “It is important to acknowledge their pain and work to alleviate the unique struggles they may face as the surviving spouse or child of a service member who was killed in action. I am thinking of these brave Illinoisans today, and hope they are able to find some peace after their immeasurable loss.”

To hear more from Porfirio and Hastings about the importance of Memorial Day to them and their legislative work to assist veterans, check out this recent episode of the Illinois Senate Democrats’ podcast, the Sound of the State, here.


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