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.



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


$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


$82 million



$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


CURES Funding to IEMA spent at the direction of the governor


   Personal Protective Equipment at IEMA


   Testing and Contact Tracing at IEMA


   Pandemic costs at DHS


   Health and safety measures at IDOC


Business Interruption Grants at DCEO


   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars


    to livestock management facilities




Business Interruption Grants at DCEO for day care providers


   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars




Business Interruption Grants at DCEO for underserved communities


Business Interruption Grants for daycare/childcare in underserved communities


Illinois Housing Development Authority Grants for rent/mortgage assistance


   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars




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


DHS to fund mental health, substance abuse


   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars


DHS for Welcoming Centers to assist COVID impacted families


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


   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars




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


HFS for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)


   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars




HFS for FQHC's in underserved communities


HFS for ambulance providers, and medical assistance providers


   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars






   for counties outside of Cook and the Collars






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.

COVID19 Updates

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