Democratic leaders reach state budget deal

Gov. JB Pritzker
Gov. JB Pritzker(Capitol News Illinois photo by Jerry Nowicki)
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 4:44 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (25News Now) - Gov. JB Pritzker joined Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker to Emanuel “Chris” Welch to announce they have reached an agreement on a budget for the next fiscal year.

They said the budget is balanced and similar to the one Pritzker proposed in February.

The governor said the budget focuses on fiscal responsibility by paying down debt and investing in key areas.

“From violence prevention, higher K-12 funding and filling teacher vacancies to more workforce development and enhanced health services, this budget makes historic investments that will benefit our state for years to come,” Pritzker said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

The budget includes $250 million into Pritzker’s Smart Start program, created to make sure every child can attend preschool.

Also, $400 million are earmarked for economic development to help attract new businesses in the state.

“Today’s agreement proves once again that Democrats can produce a state budget that is both fiscally responsible and compassionate at the same time,” said Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Westchester).

“We will pass a budget that is balanced, it’ll make smart investments in the services people need, and it will be a reflection of the values we share as Illinoisans,” Welch said in a statement.

“We’ve put together a responsible balanced budget that recognizes our shared goals and commitment to making progress on key issues for the people of Illinois,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) in a statement.

The plan is to move the budget out of the Senate Wednesday night so lawmakers have the constitutionally required three days needed to pass it out of the House by Friday.