Governor JB Pritzker signs $50B state budget

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Gov. Pritzker signs Illinois' largest-ever budget
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed the state's $50 billion budget Wednesday in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor JB Pritzker signed the state budget into law in Chicago Wednesday.

The spending package is the largest budget in state history, over $50 billion. It includes major boosts for education, and health care and childcare. It also invests in law enforcement and measures meant to help the homeless.

The governor signed it into law at Christopher House, a Pre-K through eighth grade nonprofit school, to highlight, among many aspects of the budget, the money the state is investing in early childhood development.

The budget that passed along party lines, but Democrats are touting it as providing major investment in Illinois' future.

"Collectively it's an expression of our commitment to equity, resilience and prosperity for generations to come," Governor Pritzker said. To the many legislators who voted for this budget and who made today possible, thank you. Not only for your leadership, but for your advocacy and your labor. Also for your commitment to your constituents and to the people of Illinois."

Governor JB Pritzker speaks about the $50 billion state budget.

The budget makes an initial $250 million investment in early childhood education as part of a new program called Smart Start.

It also invests $350 million more for K-12 education throughout the state as well as $100 million for higher education for scholarships and to provide free access to community colleges. There is also funding to hire and train another 200 state police officers.

There is also money for economic development, addressing homelessness, and helping those with developmental disabilities.

"With this budget, we have proven we don't have to choose between being a responsible state and a compassionate one," House Speaker Chris Welch said.

Republicans are raising some concerns, though.

"At a time we're not growing like we're seeing our neighboring states, this was, I see a real missed opportunity to support our job," said State Senate Minority Leader John Curran.

The governor also said that the state's initial plan to invest $220 million to help provide healthcare for undocumented immigrants has been boosted up to $550 million. The governor said his team is working with Mayor Brandon Johnson's team to help Chicago deal with the migrant crisis, but noted the number of asylum seekers has diminished greatly since May 11.