ROCKFORD, Ill. – Emphasizing the need to support families facing hardship from the pandemic and inflation, state Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford, supported a state budget package that provides direct relief to residents, increases investment in child care assistance and directs additional resources to programs that target the underlying causes of violence.
“This is a responsible budget that understands the challenges families are facing in our community,” West said. “It’s costing quite a bit more for residents to fill up their gas tank or pick up food at the store, that’s why this plan provides real relief that will help household budgets this year.”
The West-supported budget package includes direct checks to working families at $50 per individual, and $100 per child (up to three children for each family). It also suspends the tax on groceries for one year, and institutes a six month freeze on motor fuel taxes. As part of the relief package, property tax rebates would be doubled (up to $300 per household) and the Earned Income Tax Credit would be permanently expanded.
Public safety funding was increased by nearly half a billion in the budget, with new dollars going toward youth intervention programs, witness protection and police recruitment. More than $70 million has been allocated for domestic violence prevention, as well as $2 million for expanding trauma recovery centers.
Schools are in line to receive more funding, with more than $350 million in additional resources being directed toward classrooms under the evidence-based funding formula. The budget package also builds on fiscally-responsible action that has eliminated the state’s bill backlog, paid down debt early and raised credit ratings. This year’s budget directs $1 billion toward a rainy day fund that was virtually nonexistent before.
“It’s critical that we continue to be responsible in managing our state finances, so that we are flexible and responsive to the challenges families are facing,” West said. “There’s still a lot more to do, but this budget package is going to help people in our community.”