“My priority has always been to work toward a fair and responsible budget that provides essential services for downstate Illinois without putting the burden on middle-class families. This remains my priority, especially as we address the COVID-19 pandemic. Our state needs to continue to fund opportunities for free testing, ensure access to vaccinations, and invest in solutions that let our communities and schools reopen safely. I urge Congress to help us achieve these goals through passing a federal COVID-19 relief package. Our small businesses and high-risk populations are depending on more aid to get our state back on track. While there are many tough decisions we will have to make in order to balance our budget, we need to strengthen protections and services for seniors, veterans, and other vulnerable populations at risk during the negotiation process.
“The past year has brought on challenges never faced by our country and our state. While the governor offered a good starting point, budget negotiations will have to include health and safety measures to continue fighting the pandemic while also addressing some of Illinois’ ongoing fiscal issues. With both Democratic and Republican legislators coming together, we can craft a responsible, fair, and balanced budget that works for all Illinoisans.”