Flush with federal assistance and higher than expected tax collections (fueled by high inflation), the state budget for fiscal year 2023 will come in around $47 billion, featuring an 8% increase for state operations, temporary tax cuts and debt payments.
$1.8 billion in tax cuts
– The state will send individual-filing taxpayers a check for $50 and joint filers $100. Each dependent child will generate another $100 check;
– $300 property tax rebates for homeowners;
– Suspends the grocery tax for one year;
– Back-to-School sales tax holiday;
– 6-month freeze on the inflation-adjusted increase in the Motor Fuel Tax paid (2.2 cents per gallon) paid for with a 12-month diversion from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund; and
– Expands the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 18 to 20 percent. Also, young adults (ages 18-24), seniors (65 years old or older), and persons who have Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) instead of Social Security numbers will be eligible for the state EITC.
$1.5 billion for savings and debt payment
– $1 billion to the Rainy Day Fund; and
– $500 million into pension fund debt.
$ 200 million for “public safety initiatives”
$20 million for the Illinois Nonprofit Security Grant Program
– Under this program, nonprofits, including churches, can apply for state grants for needed security measures.
Invest in Kids Act
House Bill 4126 (Tarver (D) – Chicago and Cunningham (D) – Chicago) – This legislation creates a “super-priority” status for current scholarship recipients and allows for awarding partial scholarships for qualifying families whose income exceeds 185% of federal poverty level. The provisions of the bill are relatively minor improvements to the program, but this work is accomplishing the additional goal of engaging our grassroots and building more support in the General Assembly. As evidence of the successful strategy, the bill passed the House and Senate on unanimous roll calls. The bill will soon be sent to the Governor.
We were also able to make some technical corrections, ensuring all areas of statute agree on the program’s current January 1, 2025 sunset date, in the Budget Implementation Bill.
Catholics for Life
House Bill 4221 (Cassidy (D) – Chicago) – This legislation seeks to target Crisis Pregnancy Centers with burdensome promotional mandates that would infringe on their operations and free speech rights. It also seeks to impose an individual right to civil action that would threaten the Centers viability. CCI opposed this legislation, and it did not move forward.
House Bill 4247 (Hernandez (D) – Chicago) – This legislation requires public universities to make emergency contraception available through on-campus vending machines. These drugs are already available over-the-counter and in university health centers. CCI opposed this legislation. The bill passed the House on March 3, 2022 by a vote of 62-38-2, but was not taken up by the Senate.
House Bill 5162 (Yingling (D) – Round Lake Beach) – This bill would have prohibited organizations, including religious organizations, from receiving any state funding if they are practicing “conversion therapy.” CCI opposed this legislation because “conversion therapy” is not defined in the legislation. The bill passed the House but did not move in the Senate as of the end of this session.
Senate Bill 3144 (Villanueva (D) – Chicago) – This bill will create a state task force to explore how to provide universal legal representation to immigrants facing deportation. CCI supported this bill, which passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor.
House Bill 4343 (Gillespie (D) – Arlington Heights) – Among the provisions in this bill is the expansion of state medical coverage to low-income noncitizens ages 42 to 54. Under past legislative efforts, low-income noncitizens 55 years old or older are already eligible for state medical coverage. This bill passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor.
Prison & Jail Ministry
House Bill 3465 (Lilly (D) – Oak Park) – This legislation calls on each institution or facility of the Illinois Department of Corrections to hire a reentry specialist to assist persons with reentry back to their communities. CCI supported this bill, which passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor.
House Bill 4552 (Cassidy (D) – Chicago) – This bill would allow for natural organic reduction of human remains (“human composting”) in Illinois. CCI opposed this bill, which passed a House committee but did not move forward as of the end of this session.