Governor J.B. Pritzker gave the annual State of the State and the Budget Address to the General Assembly. The Governor outlines his spending plan of nearly $53 billion budget for the 2024 fiscal year, calling for new spending on child care, homelessness and migrants, while proposing new plans to help with medical care and grocery costs.

The Governor announced that he wants Illinois to become the first state to ban prior authorization for in-patient adult and children’s mental health care. This would eliminate the need for patients suffering a mental health crisis having to jump through hoops designed to deny or limit coverage.

In addition to the Governor’s budget address, thousands of bills have been introduced and face consideration in the coming weeks.

Governor’s Budget Address Lays Out Spending Priorities

According to Pritzker’s budget officials, the budget proposal includes $52.2 billion in revenue and $52.7 billion in spending — a 2% increase from last year.

Revenues for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2024 are estimated to total $52.993 billion — a $777 million or 1.5% increase from revised estimates. The budget address also seeks to raise over $700 million through an increase in the sports betting tax from 15% to 35%, and extend an existing cap on operating losses businesses can claim on taxes.

The Governor is looking to build on recent improvements in the funding levels for the pensions systems. While current funding goals are 90%, he would like to fully fund pensions at 100% by 2048. He proposes to increase pension payments by devoting one-half of the current debt payments from the bill backlog bonds and pension obligation bonds when those bonds expire in FY30 and FY33. The state has a $6 billion loan to cover backlog borrowings and $10 billion in pension funding bonds.

The budget calls for $75 million that would add 3,000 additional slots in preschool deserts. For funding K-12 education, the evidence-based funding model for schools would get $350 million again this year. Public colleges’ and universities’ operating funds will increase – $30.6 million in additional funding which is a 2.2% increase over FY24. There is also a $10 million increase in the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

The plan also includes transferring mass transit costs from sales tax to the state’s Road Fund, to take in an additional $175 million. The spending plan sets aside $175 million for the state’s “rainy day” fund. Funds two cadet classes to hire 100 additional troopers at $5.3 million.

$200 million will serve as the state’s match to aggressively compete for $11 billion in federal CHIPS R&D funding that will be made available to states over the next 10 years, including the second phase of funding for the quantum tech hub in Chicago previously designated by the federal government in an earlier round; a National Science and Technology Center; the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program (NAPMP); and the CHIPS Manufacturing USA Institute.

There are some tax breaks baked into this proposal. The proposed budget creates a $12 million child tax credit for lower-income families with children under age 3. The governor also proposed permanently eliminating the State’s one percent grocery tax. Local government leaders were critical of this provision since all the proceeds from this tax go to local units of government.

Other funding priorities may cause some political consternation. The governor’s budget includes $181.7 million to continue to fund the migrant crisis and $629 million to continue providing healthcare benefits to undocumented people.

The General Assembly will ultimately pass a budget using the governor’s budget proposal as the starting point for budget negotiations.

HHS Budget Highlisghts

Below are the FY25 proposed budget highlights for DHS, HFS, and DCFS.

Department of Human Services (DHS) – FY25 Proposed Budget: $14.248 billion All Funds, $7.282 billion General Funds

· Provides an additional $50 million for Home Illinois to continue initiatives launched in FY24 through investments in eviction mitigation, shelter diversion, scattered site housing, and court-based rental assistance.

· Provides emergency funding to support the joint response of the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, and Cook County to thousands of asylum seekers arriving in Illinois with a $182 million commitment through allocations of funding at Welcoming Centers ($115 million) and Home Illinois ($67 million).

· Supports mental health care and treatment through a $19 million increase for forensic inpatient and outpatient services, 9-8-8 hotline, and support of the Williams and Colbert consent decrees.

Division of Mental Health (DMH):

· Continued funding to support compliance with the Williams and Colbert consent decrees. $5.7M new GRF is included to support housing costs for new transitions.

· $10.3M GRF support to replace ARPA funding used to support community-based mental health services, including 9-8-8 services.

· $3.0M requested to support jail-based forensic mental health pilot.

· The budget supports the ongoing development of the 9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and associated statewide crisis services.

Division of Substance Use Prevention & Recover (SUPR):

· Includes sufficient appropriation authority to support the approved opioid abatement programs. To date $100M+ of multi-year investments have been approved by the Illinois Opioid Remediation and Recovery Steering Committee.

· SUPR continues to invest the Cannabis Tax revenues. Efforts supported by these funds include investment in violence prevention, workforce training, mobile treatment services, and collaboration with the ISP on diversion.

· The proposed budget supports statutorily required rate increases for community-based SUPR services.

Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) – FY25 Proposed Budget: $39.478 billion All Funds, including $9.383 billion General Funds

· FY25 Medicaid liability is projected to total $26.8 billion all funds, approximately 0.1% increase.

o Total enrollment is projected at 3.6 million Illinoisans.

o State continues to work through eligibility reviews following the end of the federal public health emergency’s continuous enrollment requirement.

· Includes an increase of $497.9 million to annualize Medicaid program rate increases and changes effective mid-FY24 (includes mental health and substance use increases).

· Includes funding of $629 million for the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors programs, of which $440 million will be covered by State GRF.

· The recommended budget provides $10 million for a program to erase medical debts totaling an estimated $1 billion in relief for more than 300,000 Illinois households.

· Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives: Includes $150 million in funding for continued investment in collaborations of healthcare providers and community partners to improve healthcare outcomes, reduce healthcare disparities, and realign resources.

· Continued Investments In – Children’s Behavioral Health, the Pathways program, Maternal and Child Health, Williams and Colbert, Certified Behavioral Health Clinics, and Medicaid Technical Assistance Center (MTAC).

Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation: The proposed FY25 budget includes almost $35 million to continue funding and implementing recommendations from the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative, a collaborative and coordinated effort across six state agencies (DHS, HFS, ISBE, DJJ, DPH and DCFS) and their community partners.

$1.5 million for BEACON (Behavioral Health Care and Ongoing Navigation), the portal developed in partnership between Illinois and Google Public Sector.

This new state-of-the-art online portal will provide a user friendly experience for Illinois families to access behavioral and mental health resources for children.

$31.3 million for Comprehensive Community Based Youth Services (CCBYS) Expansion.

$2 million for Pediatric Mental Health Training.

Madigan’s Former Chief of Staff Sentenced for Perjury

Tim Mapes, the longtime chief of staff to former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison. Federal prosecutors had accused Mapes of lying to a grand jury despite being granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for truthful testimony. In August 2023 he was found guilty of perjury and of attempted obstruction of justice.

Upcoming Dates

March 15, 2024                    Deadline for Senate bills out of Senate committee

March 19,2024                     Primary Election

April 5, 2024                         Deadline for House bills out of House committee