Let the good fiscal times roll
With help from Olivia Olander
Happy Thursday, Illinois. Springfield is always a gas, gas, gas.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. JB Pritzker proposed a $49.6 billion budget Wednesday that beefs up education at all levels and puts more money into the state’s underfunded pension plans.
It’s a budget that rebrands existing programs and doesn’t push hot-button issues. Even the abortion proposal is tame. It establishes an information hotline. Here’s the full proposed budget.
The Democratic governor added a pinch of politics: Pritzker slams ‘demagogues’ who attack schools, libraries. It was a not-so-subtle dig at Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Finances were the focus: “Our budgets are built on a solid foundation of normalized state revenue and more efficient management of state resources,” Pritzker told lawmakers gathered in the House chambers for the first in-person State of the State and budget address since before the pandemic. “I’m confident in saying the state of our state is stronger than it has been in decades, and we’re getting stronger every day.”
The line drew a standing ovation and round of applause, at least from Democrats. Some highlights:
- $250 million over four years to ramp up pre-K education to include families in need. We wrote about that Wednesday.
- $100 million or new facilities to accommodate more pre-K education.
- $350 million for elementary and secondary schools to meet state education targets required by a law adopted during the Rauner administration, and
- $100 million toward the Monetary Award Program, called MAP grants, which help higher-education students from families who are at or below the median income. Other areas of higher education would also see increases.
Other spending highlights:
- $9.8 billion contribution to the state’s pension funds.
- $45 million for the state Public Health Department’s computer systems to track future pandemics.
- $30 million to fund a violent crime witness protection program.
- $20 million to create the Illinois Grocery Initiative to get grocery stores in underserved areas, both urban and rural, and
- $5 million toward training health care workers in the reproductive health industry. “I’m sure that there are some elected officials who would like us to stop talking about abortion. Well, too bad,” Pritzker said to applause.
Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch called Pritzker’s budget plan “a great starting point for our legislative negotiations.”
Comptroller Susana Mendoza called it “a very targeted approach at putting a short amount of dollars, but important dollars, toward tested and proven programs that have a good return on investment specifically at the higher ed level.”
Senate Republican Leader John Curran: “We must heed [previous] warnings of Comptroller Mendoza and be disciplined in our fiscal approach at a time when we are likely to experience a recession.”
Fiscal policy analyst Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability: “The governor was right to sound an optimistic tone about the state’s fiscal condition, but some of what he said was overly optimistic,” he told Playbook.
— Pritzker’s budget adds up to nearly $1 billion for students, reports Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles
— From the Tribune: “The governor’s budget proposal, which accounts for projections of a mild recession in the coming months, doesn’t include any major tax or fee increases, or any significant spending cuts,” by Dan Petrella, Jeremy Gorner and Rick Pearson.
— By the numbers: “Even though revenue from state income and sales taxes are projected to keep growing, overall revenues are forecast to drop during the upcoming fiscal year by about 3 percent,” by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney.
— Lawmakers jockey for their own spending priorities, by Capitol News’ Hannah Meisel and Nika Schoonover
— House Dems’ Budget Working Group: Chief budgeteer Jehan Gordon-Booth, Majority Leader Robyn Gabel, House Revenue and Finance Chair Kelly Burke, Deputy Majority Leader Lisa Hernandez and Reps. Will Guzzardi and Mark Walker.
THE BLACK VOTE: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who’s working to mobilize Black voters behind her reelection campaign, secured two important endorsements Wednesday. In a new digital ad, Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, a former state representative, says she’s backing the mayor because of investments on the South and West sides.
“I have seen prior mayors,” Conyears-Ervin says in the ad, “where residents, especially on the South and West Sides of Chicago, have felt neglected. I’ve never seen a mayor with an initiative entitled ‘INVEST South/West.’”
The ad follows an N’DIGO endorsement, titled “Lightfoot For Mayor. ‘Let’s Keep The Seat.’”
Publisher Hermene Hartman writes that there are so many Black candidates in the race — seven, including the mayor — that there’s a risk none of them will win. “The Black vote will be split rather than united, causing voter confusion and disrupting the power structure,” Hartman writes.
Singling out Lightfoot: Hartman says the mayor “is the only Black candidate that can win at this time. She deserves a second term to complete the work she has in the pipeline.”
And pointing to Willie Wilson: Hartman said the Black businessman is polling in fourth place, a sign, she writes, that his supporters should consider Lightfoot instead.
Pushing back: Wilson, who is also banking on Black voters, fumed. In a statement, he called the endorsement “divisive.”
Election day is 12 days away.
If you are budgeteer Jehan Gordon-Booth, Playbook would like to know what you like and don’t like in the governor’s budget. Email [email protected].
At the Springfield Early Learning Center at 10 a.m. to discuss the FY24 budget proposal — At the Vivian D. Adams Early Childhood Center in East St. Louis at 12:45 p.m. to discuss the budget proposal — At Spero Family Services in Mt. Vernon at 3 p.m. to discuss the budget proposal.
In City Hall at 2:30 p.m. to announce changes to Chicago’s human resources policy and an RFP for a new Department of Family and Support Services program to support returning residents.
Online at noon for a virtual discussion about health issues impacting the Black community.
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
— In Springfield, mayoral endorsements cross political lines: “Labor unions endorse Misty Buscher, and former mayor Houston endorses previous rival Jim Langfelder, the incumbent,” by Illinois Times’ Dean Olsen.
— Card-carrying members: The conservative Illinois Freedom Caucus says it now has seven official members as it starts work in the new 103rd General Assembly. The group started last year with five. The most recent member is state Rep. David Friess
— HIGHER-ED: Illinois State leader quits after less than 2 years on job, by The Associated Press
— JUICE: Paul Vallas’ campaign received $100,000 from Mary Tolan, co-founder and former CEO of Accretive Health (now known as R1 RCM), according to state filings.
— 4th Ward: Candidates say city needs to do more to cut Grant Park concert noise, by Block Club’s Jamie Nesbitt Golden
— 48th Ward: Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer endorsed Joe Dunne for alderman in the 48th Ward.
— Is Lightfoot’s signature housing policy working? Depends on who you ask, by Illinois Answers Project’s Alex Nitkin
— State lawmakers want to legalize drug-injection site this year — but will city leaders follow through? Block Club’s Mack Liederman reports
— Pro-Ukraine demonstrators denounce Joffrey Ballet’s production of ‘Anna Karenina,’ by Sun-Times’ Kade Heather
— Bears finalize deal to buy Arlington Heights site for a new stadium: “Despite the sale, the organization maintains the stadium and development are still big ‘ifs,’ dependent on the team getting property tax limits and public subsidies to help build infrastructure for the project. The team issued an open letter calling the purchase “an important next step” to see if the plan is feasible — while Chicago officials responded by saying they’ll negotiate with the team to keep it in the city,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin, Dan Wiederer, Caroline Kubzansky, Dan Petrella and Jeremy Gorner.
— Justin Fields: ‘I hope we get a dome,’ via Barstool Sports
— Here’s what’s next for Arlington Heights area now that the Bears have bought Arlington Park, by Pioneer Press’ Caroline Kubzansky
— ‘New traditions and memories’: What Highland Park has planned for July 4 this year: “The day will begin with a 10 a.m. remembrance ceremony at city hall,” by Daily Herald’s Charles Keeshan.
— Highland Park parade shooting suspect’s father indicted: “Robert E. Crimo Jr. will be arraigned Thursday on seven counts of reckless conduct for sponsoring his son’s firearm ownership application in 2019,” by Sun-Times’ David Struett.
— After indictment of Oak Lawn cop, civil rights group presses for charges against two other cops in beating of 17-year-old suspect, by Sun-Times’ Sophie Sherry
We asked for your go-to comfort food.
Jason Baumann: A good old-fashioned horseshoe
Randy Bukas: M&Ms
Paul Engleman: Cheeseburger from Paradise Pup, an Italian sub from Bari or a fried pork tenderloin sandwich from J.T.’s Genuine
Andy Shaw: Fried rice
Steve Smith: Portillo’s Maxwell Street Polish
In a sentence, what do you like about the governor’s budget proposal, or not? Email [email protected]
— Austan Goolsbee under consideration to serve as Fed’s vice chair: “Goolsbee, currently president of the Chicago Fed, served as a top economic adviser to former President Barack Obama,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
— Dan Brady adjusts to private life and urges party change: “He’s still looking for what’s next. It could be politics. It could be a board or commission. ‘One door closes, another one opens,’ said Brady,” via WGLT Charlie Schlenker.
— Illinois Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Rochford has been appointed as Supreme Court Liaison to the Commission on Professionalism, which promotes civility among lawyers and judges.
— Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, met with Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Hasan Murat Mercan “to discuss the ways in which the United States can help Türkiye recover from the devastating earthquakes that have killed more than 35,000 people in the country,” according to Duckworth’s team.
— Senior Democrats’ private take on Biden: He’s too old, by POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin
— Pence moves to claim culture war lane before DeSantis gets there, by POLITICO’s Juan Perez Jr. and Adam Wren
— The DNC thought it killed the Iowa caucus. It’s not dead yet, writes POLITICO’s David Siders
— MAKING HISTORY: Bessie Coleman, the first African American and first Native American woman pilot, who lived in Chicago, will be featured on the U.S. quarter as part of the U.S. Mint’s American Women Quarters program.
— Mary Ellen Richardson has been promoted to chief of staff for Rep. Darin LaHood (16th). She was his legislative director.
— Greg Warren has been promoted to legislative director for LaHood. He was his legislative assistant.
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Fred Lebed for correctly answering that William Bross Lloyd was the “millionaire communist” from Winnetka who was convicted of conspiring to overthrow the government. He ran for the U.S. Senate on the Socialist Party ticket in 1918. In 1920, he helped found the Communist Labor Party of America. His sentence was commuted to time served in 1922.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What is the pumpkin capital of the world? Email [email protected]
State Sen. Don DeWitte, Illinois Department of Labor chief of staff Dana O’Leary, state Senate campaigner Quinne Welter, Ald. Timmy Knudsen’s deputy campaign manager Shayna Jaskolka, University of Chicago Institute of Politics’ Jennifer Steinhauer, Chicago Ventures partner Kevin Willer, nonprofit consultant Jean Butzen, former POLITICO Publisher Robert Allbritton, Block Club photographer Colin Boyle and restaurant guru Ina Pinkney.
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February 16, 2023 at 08:56AM