After months of bipartisan negotiations, Illinois lawmakers approved a stop-gap budget June 30 that will fund K-12 schools, road projects and federal programs for the next year and keep essential state services running until January, according to Senator Neil Anderson.
“Just hours before the new fiscal year was to begin on July 1, we approved a short-term budget to ensure K-12 schools open on time this fall, and to fund prisons, universities, colleges and government operations through the end of the calendar year,” Senator Anderson said “A stop-gap budget is not our first choice – we have supported the ongoing efforts of working groups to find an agreement on a balanced budget with some reforms. But such is the nature of compromise. This budget breaks the impasse and gets us moving in the right direction.”
The $50.6 billion stop-gap budget makes an historic investment in K-12 education, provides money for early childhood education, funds MAP grants, ensures critical government services are funded, and provides for no bailout of the Chicago Public Schools system. Senate Bill 2047 will provide a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, road construction projects and federal programs, and six months of funding for critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities (such as prisons and veterans’ homes), public safety, health and welfare.
The budget will fully fund the current state-aid formula for schools for the first time in seven years, with a “hold harmless” provision that guarantees no schools will receive less money than they did in the previous year. In addition, a new $250 million equity grant will help the poorest schools in the state, and early childhood education (pre-K) will receive a boost of $75 million.
Higher education will receive an additional $1 billion, in addition to the $600 million that had already been appropriated earlier this year. The funding includes $151 million for MAP grants for low-income students and $114 million for community colleges.
The plan also includes more than $13 billion for new and ongoing transportation infrastructure improvement and maintenance projects, which will keep an estimated 25,000 workers employed.
More than $700 million will go to human services programs that help many of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Other programs, including prisons, mental health facilities, veterans’ homes, and state parks, will receive funding to keep them open and operating until January.
The 36th District Senator said it is important for lawmakers to build on the momentum of this bipartisan legislation so progress continues on essential government and business reforms.
Fiscal Year 2017 begins July 1, 2016.