2024 End of Session Report

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Wednesday morning at about 5:00 am CST. What was a hectic and chaotic session ended in similar fashion as the final bill of the FY2025 appropriations package took over two debate hours and three attempts to pass the House of Representatives only with the bare minimum number of required votes.

The final day’s chaotic nature created a spillover effect on numerous other policy items that were scheduled to be considered on a day when caucus discussions delayed floor action, committee meetings ran excessively late, and long debates over the final budget package were held.

What follows is first a general recap of the state budget, followed by issue specific outcomes important to you as our valued member:

New Spending Highlights:

Early Childhood Education

$14 million to launch the Department of Early Childhood – a new agency focusing on administering early childhood education programs

An additional $75 million will fund the ISBE Early Childhood Block Grant – putting in place 5,000 more slots in preschool deserts

$36.5 million to support higher participation in the Child Care Assistance Program

K-12 Education

$350 million increase for the evidence-based funding model for K-12 education

$10.3 million increase for Career and Technical Education programs

$3 million for State Literacy Plan Implementation

$45 million for the Teacher Vacancy Grant Pilot Program

Higher Education

$700 million for Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding

$8 million for the Minority Teacher Scholarship Program

Violence Prevention and Public Safety

Funding to hire and train 200 new state troopers

$200 million to the Restore, Reinvest, Renew (R3) program

$45 million to build up the Reimagine Public Safety grant program

$200 million to enhance after-school and summer youth programs

Health and Human Services

$290 million for HOME Illinois

One dollar per hour wage increase for Direct Support Professionals

$155 million for safety net hospitals

$50 million for a child tax credit for eligible low-income families with EITC

Lawmakers approved a measure, championed by the governor, that would purchase Illinois residents’ medical debt at a discount, which the governor’s office says could fund exponential debt relief for hundreds of thousands of families.

New Revenue Provisions

To help support a budget that’s about $2.7 billion higher than the current spending plan, the tax package that squeaked by with 60 votes is expected to bring in an estimated $750 million in new revenue.

The state sports wagering tax — currently a 15% flat tax levy on post-payout revenue — would be raised using a tiered structure, with the largest sportsbooks paying a 40% tax and the smallest paying 20%. The change is expected to bring in $200 million in new operating revenue.

Capping losses for large corporations is expected to raise an estimated $526 million.

Limiting the Retailer Discount on sales tax collection is projected to raise $101 million in additional revenue.  In return, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association struck a deal to eliminate credit card fees on sales tax and tip transactions— a concerning change in the state’s economy that could upend the use of credit and debit cards statewide.

Elimination of the 1% statewide grocery tax beginning on January 1, 2026.  Residents in individual municipalities may continue seeing this tax added to their grocery bills, as the state gave non home rule municipalities the ability to levy their own 1% tax on groceries without holding a binding referendum.

Daycare Specific Policy Developments

New Department of Early Childhood Education — Legislation was passed and sent to the Governor which creates the structure of a new Department of Early Childhood Education.   This is an important initiative in that it creates a dedicated department to issues important to us.   While it will take several years for the Department to be fully up and running, having an agency dedicated to our issues, as opposed to having to compete with at-risk children issues that DCFS has historically (and correctly) prioritized ahead of our issues, promises to help change the long term dynamic between the state government and the childcare community.

Open/Close Legislation — Thanks in large part to the leadership of State Representative Laura Faver Dias, for the first time in a little over 4 years of effort, we were able to successfully negotiate and put legislation on the Governor’s desk, with veto proof majorities, that provides flexibility for Directors required to be present at the open and close of each workday.   The ability to not only get the administration to negotiate, but to agree to this legislation represents a real breakthrough that we hope we can build upon in coming sessions.

Background Check Assistance — Rep. Dave Vella worked closely with ILDOCC in developing this legislation, that would allow daycare providers to use third parties in conducting fingerprint background checks — thus reducing long waits in onboarding new staff.   By the end of session, this was also an agreed bill.  However, as mentioned earlier, this bill got caught up in the end of session budget chaos and did not get called for a final vote before adjournment.   Rep. Vella has indicated he has a commitment that this will be called in a fall veto session.   In the meantime, he is pledging to work with DCFS to see if they can implement this agreement via rule or policy in the short term.   We will keep you updated on this progress.

n conclusion, this has been ILDOCCs most productive session by far. We continue to build our advocacy capacity with each passing year, and look forward to continuing the push next year.

Use the link below to join ILDOCC now (or renew your membership) to ensure this advocacy can continue!

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