Governor Pritzker Presents Balanced Budget for FY2025 

  • Date Posted
    February 21, 2024
  • Category
    Legislative Update
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered his sixth State of the State and Budget Address to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate on Wednesday, February 21. In his first budget address in 2019, he delivered a plan to move the state forward and restore its fiscal and economic health. The Governor indicated that the state of Illinois’ economy is much different today compared to his first budget address, reporting five years of historic fiscal progress with balanced budgets, nine credit upgrades, $2 billion now in the Rainy-Day Fund which has eliminated the bill backlog, and a Gross Domestic Product that exceeds $1 trillion.  

For FY2025, the proposed general fund operating budget totals $52.7 billion with 20.2% of the budget earmarked for P-12 education, second only to Human Services, which is proposed to receive 20.5%. With approximately 1/5 of the proposed budget dedicated to education, the Governor highlighted his commitment to this issue.  

The Governor’s priorities for early childhood education include: 
  • $75 million in additional Early Childhood Grant Funding (Smart Start Illinois Program), which will create an additional 5,800 preschool spots in FY2025, with a commitment to create 20,000 spots over four years 
  • $200 million investment in Early Childhood Workforce Compensation Contracts 
  • $5 million increase for the continued expansion of the Department of Human Services’ Home Visiting Program 
  • $36.5 million to support higher participation in the Child Care Assistance Program 
  • $5 million in state funds for Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) scholarships to replace federal funds that have been discontinued; and  
  • $3.5 million for the second year of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library early childhood literacy program. 
For P-12 education, the Governor is committed to: 
  • $350 million increase to Evidence-Based Funding (EBF), including $50 million in Property Tax Relief Grants, which brings the total investment in EBF to $8.6 billion ($1.8 billion aggregate increase during Pritzker Administration) 
  • $30.7 million in additional funding for the transportation and special education mandated categorical (for a total of $1.1 billion in MCATs. While there is a statutorily required increase to special education and regular orphanage tuition of $700,000, all other MCATs would stay flat to FY24 levels) 
  • $10.2 million for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs 
  • $3 million to support the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in creating tools, supports, resources, and coaching to implement the State Literacy Plan 
  • $3 million towards the Computer Science Equity Grant Program, and  
  • $45 million for the second year of the Teacher Vacancy Pilot Program (noting that last year’s grant brought 5,384 new teachers to the field). 
Also, two bills this session are carrying the Governor’s initiative to establish the Department of Early Childhood. SB 3777 (Lightford) and HB5451 (Canty) transfer certain rights, powers, duties, and functions currently exercised by various agencies of state government to the newly established Department on July 1, 2024. The proposed budget includes $13 million to start funding the initiative with the goal of being fully operational by July 1, 2027. 

What is missing from the Governor’s proposed budget: 
  • ISBE’s proposed $35 million in funding to support the influx of new migrants coming to our schools. However, there is a $180 million proposal to support migrant families with intake services and to meet their health and safety needs. Governor Pritzker noted this is a federal issue and continues to work at that level for support.  
  • Also, last year, the General Assembly passed a bill (Public Act 103-0532 (HB2471)) that creates a framework for providing free breakfasts and lunches for school kids (Healthy School Meals for All Program), but the legislature did not provide any funding for it in FY24.  The Governor’s proposal does not include funding for this Program in FY25 either. However, this issue is still being discussed by the General Assembly and Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) has sponsored HB4785, which would allocate $209 million for FY25 to this spending priority. Sen. Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) has sponsored an identical bill (SB3247) in the Senate. 

For higher education, the Governor included: 
  • $10 Million to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant program bringing the overall increase in funding to 77% for that program over the past six years.  
  • A 2% increase to higher education’s general funds, and  
  • $575 million in deferred maintenance and construction grants ($450 to universities and $125 to community colleges) 
Before a budget can be enacted, the Governor’s proposal or an alternative budget must be acted on by the General Assembly. While there will certainly be changes over the next several months, this kicks off the discussion of the FY2025 budget.