Dear friend,

 

I’m proud to partner with 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, and Care for Real to host a school supply drive for the 48th Ward this Tuesday, Aug. 4.

 

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we will be collecting supplies in the parking lot of St. Ita Catholic Church at 5500 N. Broadway. This drive is for one day only, with low-contact social distancing guidelines for your safety.

 

Donated supplies will go directly to Care for Real, whose team will sort and pack them into kits for distribution to local families. I encourage you to help out local families as they prepare for the new school year.

 

Suggested items for donation include:

- Pencils and pens

- Pencil sharpeners

- Erasers

- Spiral and composition notebooks

- Crayons, markers, scissors, glue, and other arts & crafts supplies

- Pocket folders

- Calculators

- Headphones with microphones

- Hand sanitizer

- Washable, reusable masks

- Backpacks

 

I hope you’ll donate and help a family start the school year! You can follow this event on Facebook here.

 

Sincerely,


Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

flyer

Dear friend,

 

As we prepare to receive our 2019 property tax bills from Cook County, there are a few things to remember. It’s likely many homeowners will be looking at an increase over their 2018 bill. I’ve outlined a few important things to remember as you prepare to settle your property tax bill in anticipation of the Aug. 3 deadline.

 

While the due date for tax bills is Aug. 3, homeowners can settle their tax bills as late as Oct. 1 without incurring penalties. Be aware, however, that failing to pay by Oct. 1 could result in your property being subject to a tax sale. You should be receiving your 2019 final installment tax bill in the mail this week. Remember that Cook County collects your 2019 taxes a year later in 2020.

 

At this time, you can't appeal your assessment, but you can review the bill for correctness and then pay the amount owed. If you believe you may not have received all the proper exemptions to which you are entitled, the first thing you should do is check to the exemptions at the bottom left part of the second installment tax bill.

 

The key exemptions are:

  • Homeowner. You own the property and live there;
  • Senior Homeowner. You own the property, live there and one of the owners is 65 years or older; and
  • Senior Freeze. You own the property, live there, one of the owners was born in 1954 or before, your 2018 household income was $65,000 or less, and you have filed a verified Senior Freeze application.

 

If any of these exemptions are missing or if you see another error on your tax bill, do one of the following before paying the bill:

  • You can call the office of your county commissioner. 13th District Commissioner Larry Suffredin can be reached at 847-864-1209 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss how to correct the bill. 10th District Commissioner Bridget Gainer can be reached at 312-603-4210 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • If you live in New Trier Township, contact New Trier Township Assessor Jan Churchwell (847-446-8202 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
  • If you live in Niles Township, contact Niles Township Assessor Scott Bagnall (847-673-9300 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

 

Once you are satisfied that your exemptions are correct, you can safely pay your bill to the Cook County Treasurer in one of the following ways:

  • Mail a check using the envelope provided
  • Pay online at cookcountytreasurer.com
  • Pay at any Chase Bank location

 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions about your property tax bill. You can contact my office via email here.

 

Sincerely,


Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Dear friend,

Building a budget this year posed significant challenges. In the face of significant unknowns, including uncertainty about additional federal assistance for states, the outcome of the fair tax in November, and how the economy will rebound as Illinois reopens, the legislature opted for a preservation budget. As a lead budget negotiator for the state Senate, I shared the aim of protecting the state services that we need now more than ever in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

 

If signed into law by the governor, the budget will provide additional support for families and small businesses that are struggling, helps seniors and people with disabilities stay in their homes at a time when that’s never been more important, increases resources to protect abused and neglected children, and provides more than $600 million in funding for businesses that have done the right thing and closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

This budget ensures construction projects continue. It preserves funding for P-12 education and the essential services that help provide food and shelter to the elderly, children, and people suffering during the outbreak.

 

Importantly, it makes our full required pension payment for the eighth year in a row.

 

This was done in a way that balances the incredible, unprecedented needs of our time with the strains on revenue that come with them. COVID-19 has devastated the budgets of families and businesses, and it has also devastated the budget of the state. For that reason, this budget makes significant cuts from the governor’s original plan, reducing it by nearly $1 billion.

 

What we have sought to do at every level is ensure that those cuts are not going to be felt by the people who can afford them the least or the institutions whose help they need right now. Read on to learn more about some of the specifics of the budget.

 

Sincerely,


Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

 

Highlights of the budget

 

Governor’s proposed FY21 Budget

 

Enacted FY21 Budget

Estimated Revenue

   Income Tax

   Sales Tax

   Other Sources

   Federal Sources

   Revenue and Bonds

$42.131 billion

   $22.615 billion

   $9.038 billion

   $5.392 billion

   $3.651 billion

   $1.435 billion

 

Total Estimated Revenue

   Income Tax

   Sales Tax

   Other Sources

   Federal Sources

   Borrowing

$43.070 billion

   $20.5 billion

   $7.5 billion

   $5.2 billion

   $3.6 billion

   $6.3 billion

Proposed net spending

$42.049 billion

 

Proposed net spending

$41.309 billion

    Non-discretionary spending

$21.000 billion

 

    Non-discretionary spending

$21.051 billion

    Discretionary spending

$22.030 billion

 

    Discretionary spending

$21.255 billion

Surplus

$82 million

 

Surplus

$113 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Included in the budget this year:

  • $8.9 billion for P-12 education, an increase of $12.7 million when compared to what was enacted in FY 20, including an increase of $6.77 million to evidence-based funding to ensure all schools’ funds are level and an additional $11 million over the previous year for mandated categoricals, including level funding for transportation.
  • Level funding for early childhood education.
  • Level funding for higher education.
  • An increase over FY 20 of $43 million to public safety agencies, including increases to violence prevention and reduction programs, two new classes of State Police cadets, and 280 additional staff and equipment, commodities, and supplies to improve operations at the Illinois Veterans’ Home at Chicago.
  • A $438 million increase to human services, with funding that includes:
    • Increases to the Community Care Program and similar home care services like Home Delivered Meals, Adult Protective Services, Senior HelpLine and area agencies on aging.
    • $299.5 million increase to DHS to cover Rehab Services, Mental Health Division, Developmental Disabilities Division, substance abuse prevention, and Child Care Assistance, among others.
    • $178.5 million increase to DCFS to hire 123 additional direct service staff, with the goal of improving the state’s caseload ratios. Includes step pay for union employees.
  • $19.1 million increase to the Dept. of Public Health, as well as $600 million in new federal funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $447.4 million increase of state funding and a $780 million increase in federal funding to HFS, covering increased Medicaid liability.
  • Most state agencies will remain at or very near level funding compared to the previous year. Overall, a total of about $1 billion in cuts to the governor’s original proposed FY 21 budget are reflected in the final plan passed by the General Assembly.

 

Using federal funding from the CARES/CURES Act

An important component of the budget has been the use of federal CARES Act funding for everything from health care and contact tracing to business assistance.

 

Included is $1.5 billion in funds to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to respond to the pandemic, nearly $400 million in rental and mortgage assistance grants, and $636 million in grants to businesses that have experienced interruptions because they are doing their part to keep the community safe.

 

Here is a complete rundown of the areas where we are using that funding:

 

CURES Funding to DCEO for grants to local governments

$250,000,000

CURES Funding to IEMA spent at the direction of the governor

$1,500,000,000

   Personal Protective Equipment at IEMA

$700,000,000

   Testing and Contact Tracing at IEMA

$600,000,000

   Pandemic costs at DHS

$100,000,000

   Health and safety measures at IDOC

$100,000,000

Business Interruption Grants at DCEO

$316,000,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$159,000,000

    to livestock management facilities

$5,000,000

   Statewide

$157,000,000

Business Interruption Grants at DCEO for day care providers

$235,000,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$70,000,000

   Statewide

$165,000,000

Business Interruption Grants at DCEO for underserved communities

$60,000,000

Business Interruption Grants for daycare/childcare in underserved communities

$25,000,000

Illinois Housing Development Authority Grants for rent/mortgage assistance

$296,000,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$79,000,000

   Statewide

$217,000,000

Illinois Housing Development Authority Grants for rent/mortgage assistance for underserved communities

$100,000,000

DHS to fund mental health, substance abuse

$30,000,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$10,000,000

DHS for Welcoming Centers to assist COVID impacted families

$32,000,000

HFS for long-term care (excluding Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities)

$385,400,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$129,182,000

   Statewide

$256,218,000

HFS for long-term care (excluding SMHRF's) in underserved communities

$50,000,000

HFS for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)

$150,000,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$50,000,000

   Statewide

$100,000,000

HFS for FQHC's in underserved communities

$40,000,000

HFS for ambulance providers, and medical assistance providers

$190,000,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$63,333,300

   Statewide

$126,666,700

HFS for SMHRF's

$14,600,000

   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars

$4,818,000

Total

$3,674,000,000

 

Borrowing

This budget relies on $5 billion in federal borrowing, a tactic the state has faced criticism for resorting to in the past. I nonetheless stand behind this decision as we look forward to a year where our state will be reeling from historically unprecedented hardship. It is true that borrowing now costs money later. We have also seen, very recently, what happens when the state simply allows its obligations to languish unfunded.

 

Indolence on the part of our previous governor saw day care centers shutting their doors, university programs cut to the bone or discontinued entirely, and widespread layoffs of personnel we needed in 2016 and 2017. In the year to come, with more need than ever and a public health crisis that demands the state of Illinois move quickly and decisively in the interest of saving lives, we cannot let the same thing happen.

 

The budget awaits the governor's signature. If you have further questions or concerns about the budget, you will have an opportunity to let me know and hear my answers this coming Monday, June 8, as I join State Reps. Greg Harris and Kelly Cassidy on a virtual town hall event to address the budget and other major items that came out of Springfield last month. You can submit your questions here and join us Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. to watch us answer questions at this link.

Dear friend,

 

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with community leaders and fellow lawmakers to lend a hand to those struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest.

 

As I’m sure you’re aware, these events have hit our small business community particularly hard—but there is help available.

 

The Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program is a series of grants totaling over $540 million for shops, restaurants, salons, fitness centers and more to help them stay afloat through this time of crisis and ensure they have the resources to open safely in the coming months.

 

 

 

 

The first round of BIG funding will award $60 million to 3,500 businesses. Here’s how those funds will be distributed:

 

Businesses in disproportionately impacted areas will receive $20 million in grants to offset the cost of recent property damage.

 

The program will award 1,000 grants of $20,000 each to businesses who have suffered property damage in recent weeks.

 

Businesses must have been operating for at least three months prior to March 2020 and must have brought in less than $2 million in revenue in 2019.

 

Bars and restaurants who cannot operate during Phase 3 will receive $20 million in grants to support them through closures. 

 

The program will award 1,000 grants of up to $20,000 each to restaurants who have been unable to resume service during Phase 3, whether due to prohibition by local ordinance, lack of access to outdoor space or financial infeasibility.

 

Half of the grants will go to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas, with a focus on areas having recently suffered property damage.

 

Establishments must have been operating for at least three months prior to March 2020 and must have brought in less than $3 million in revenue in 2019.

 

Barbershops and salons will receive $10 million in grants to help them cope with closure-related revenue losses.

 

The program will award 1,000 grants of $10,000 each to barbershops and salons who were forced to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Half of the grants will go to businesses in disproportionately impacted areas, with a focus on areas having recently suffered property damage.

 

Businesses must have been operating for at least three months prior to March 2020 and must have brought in less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019.

 

Fitness centers will receive $10 million in grants to ensure they can reopen safely when restrictions are lifted.

 

The program will award 500 grants of $20,000 each to facilities that have suffered significant losses due to closure or reduced operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Health or fitness service providers without a permanent location—such as those who deliver remote services or travel to different client locations—are not eligible to receive funds.

 

Nearly a third of grants will go to facilities in disproportionately impacted areas.

 

Facilities must have been operating for at least three months prior to March 2020 and must have brought in less than $2 million in revenue in 2019.

 

Applications for these programs will open Monday, June 22 and will remain open for 7-14 days. One week after the application period closes, grant administration partners will begin reaching out to recipients.

 

DCEO will post a full list of eligible costs and covered losses alongside each grant application. Businesses that have not received other grants and loans will be given priority. 

 

I hope this information will be useful to you or a business owner you know. I encourage you to share these details with your friends, family and neighbors, to see if they know someone who may benefit from the BIG program—it’s vital that we reach out to help one another during these challenging times. 

 

As applications open, deadlines approach and more grants are made available, I will be sure to keep you informed. If you have questions about the BIG program or other issues facing our community, don’t hesitate to reach out to my office via email here.

 

Sincerely,

Heather Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

COVID19 Updates

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