Advance Illinois Responds to Governor Pritzker’s Proposed FY21 Budget

Posted on February 19, 2020

CHICAGO, IL (February 19, 2020) Advance Illinois President Robin Steans released the following statement in response to Governor Pritzker’s proposed FY21 budget: 

“The State of Illinois faces real and serious financial challenges, that much is clear and known.  That said, we are deeply disappointed that, in his FY21 budget proposal, Governor Pritzker has chosen to invest in the children of Illinois based on the hope that a fair tax amendment will pass in November. This two-tiered budget—with some dollars immediately available and authorized, and some dollars held in reserve pending passage of a constitutional amendment enabling a progressive income tax—is a significant blow to our children and the adults who are committed to shaping their futures.”

“In his proposed budget, the governor has allocated $200M for Evidence-Based Funding, with an additional $150M held in reserve.  This raises two very serious alarms.  First, and most importantly, the state has made a clear and statutory commitment to invest no less than $350 million in the K-12 system each year for ten years.  As proposed, this budget runs the real risk of turning its back on that commitment and the children who depend on it.” 

“Secondly, and practically speaking, the budget, as proposed, means that school districts around the state must and will plan around the assured $200M increase, depriving students in already underfunded districts of additional programming and supports enabled by the $150M reserve.  This same planning and budgeting challenge will play out in child care centers, preschools, community colleges and universities.”

“In a world where the current Minimum Funding Level won’t get us to full funding in the promised ten-year timeframe, and where we want schools to put new dollars to work for children as quickly and effectively as possible, the FY21 investment strategy is devastating.” 

“We urge Governor Pritzker and the members of the General Assembly to seriously reconsider the budget as presented and find ways to invest in the future of Illinois with resources that are available now.  Our schools need the full $350 million that has been promised, even as we work to assure a stronger fiscal base to permit even greater investments going forward.  Childcare centers, schools, colleges and universities need both adequate funding and predictability throughout the academic year to provide for the diverse needs of students across the state. They cannot build budgets based on hopes and assumptions. Our children’s futures require dependable and steady investments, and they count on us to keep our promises.”

Robin Steans
Advance Illinois