Governor Ryan Introduces 2002 Budget to Invest in Education, Human Services and Illinois Communities -- 51 Percent of New Revenues for Education for Third Straight Year,Peotone Airport Land Acquisition to Begin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2001
SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today introduced a $50 billion budget for fiscal year 2002 that proposes, for the third year in a row, an unprecedented commitment of 51 percent of new revenues to education while also continuing investments in our communities, human services and public safety.
The $49.97 billion budget proposal once again ends the year with a general funds balance of $1.2 billion. While it acknowledges recent projections of slower economic growth, it meets the Governor's clear and consistent funding priorities. It calls for no new tax or fee increases, but it continues the second-year of tax relief programs for senior citizens, low-wage workers and parents of school children.
"Today I present to you a budget that will continue to improve our schools, create jobs and opportunity, fix our roads, get our children the health care services they need, clean our air and water and help keep our neighborhoods safe," Gov. Ryan said. "It strengthens Illinois' human infrastructure. It maintains our programs to expand and improve the state's physical infrastructure. And it allows us to continue the tax relief programs for families that we started last year."
The budget again appropriates funds to acquire land for the proposed Peotone Airport to supplement air transportation capacity in Northeastern Illinois. In his budget
address, the Governor announced the Illinois Department of Transportation will begin purchasing land from willing sellers in the airport's footprint.
Other highlights of the budget include:
The Governor's proposed budget includes an additional $460 million, or 51 percent of all new state revenue, to education. That would bring the education appropriation to nearly $9 billion.
In addition, the budget proposal includes a two-year, $250 million capital investment program for the state's 48 Community Colleges-a system the Governor has called the backbone of the new economy. Other proposals include:
- A record commitment to higher education, $3.4 billion this year for state universities, community colleges and private institutions.
- A general funds increase of $60 million to fully fund mandated programs such as special education, transportation and school lunches.
The Governor said his administration will begin working with local school districts, parents' organizations and groups like the Illinois Business Education Coalition to start the process of moving toward annual student testing as a means of ensuring greater accountability.
"Parents should know the progress their children are making in every school, every year," Gov. Ryan said.
Gov. Ryan applauded State Board Chairman Ron Gidwitz and State School Superintendent Max McGee for developing a solid reform plan for the Illinois Board of Education that builds on the agency's strengths and puts it more in touch with students, parents, teachers and school officials in every community.
The State Board proposes improving efficiency by transferring some programs to other state agencies, streamlining operations, privatizing some functions and cutting 120 positions through transfers within state government, annual attrition or downsizing.
In another effort to keep Illinois prepared to meet the needs of a changing economy, the Governor outlined a $1.3 billion budget for economic development and job training.
"As I promised last month, we will not forget those who have recently lost their jobs in Illinois as the economy slows and we will do all that we can to help people who have been laid off to find a new job," Gov. Ryan said.
The Governor also pledged to work with business and organized labor to ensure that our tax structure, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation systems are fair to all parties and appropriate for the times.
To capitalize on Illinois' ranking as the fourth largest high-tech economy, Governor Ryan's second year of his landmark VentureTECH program dedicates almost $400 million to upgrading Illinois' scientific infrastructure and investing in research and education in medicine, biotechnology, physics and information technology.
The 2002 budget will continue the third year of his landmark Illinois FIRST program. The projects will widen highways, repair bridges, relieve congested suburban streets, build new roads for economic development and put tens of thousands of people to work.
These Illinois FIRST projects will also improve the quality of life for people across the state.
- A $2.3 billion road construction program, the details will be announced this spring.
- Continued untangling of notorious Chicagoland traffic headache, the "Hillside Strangler."
- $96 million for mass transit, including new buses and trains.
- $500 million in new funding for construction projects at elementary and high schools.
Gov. Ryan said his 2002 budget proposes taking the first concrete steps toward increasing the capacity of our air transportation in Northeastern Illinois.
The Governor said he was directing the Department of Transportation to begin buying land from willing sellers in the proposed Peotone Airport construction footprint in Will County--$45.5 million is proposed for land acquisition in 2002.
The budget strengthens the state's human infrastructure with key investments in social services:
- Caregivers for people with developmental disabilities will receive a $1-an-hour wage increase, effective March 1, 2001 if a supplemental appropriation is passed.
- The Department of Public Health will use $36 million in tobacco recovery funds for smoking prevention programs.
- The Department of Children and Family Services would receive an increase of $35 million to help the agency move even more children into permanent homes.
- $3 million for the Illinois Workforce Advantage program to bring help to economically disadvantaged areas.
- The after school program Teen REACH will receive a $2.5 million increase.
- An increase of $1 million for the Great Start program for training day care workers.
- The Department of Public Aid is allocated $7.4 billion in state and federal funds to assist our most needy citizens.
Gov. Ryan said the Department of Public Aid would continue to be committed to ensuring child support checks make it into the hands of custodial parents on time.
In 1999, custodial parents across the state suffered hardships when the new, federally mandated state-run child-support check disbursement system nearly collapsed, causing missed and delayed child support payments. Thirty-three thousand emergency checks, averaging $280 each, were sent to parents. Noting those hardships were no fault of the parents or children, Gov. Ryan said there will be no effort to recoup the money, now that the disbursement system is working.
"With compassion and understanding, this state should not attempt to recoup those emergency payments," Gov. Ryan said. "The circumstances behind those 33,000 emergency checks led to numerous hardships for innocent families - we should not create any more."
The Governor reiterated his support for the KidCare program and said KidCare enrollment has grown nearly five-fold since he took office, with nearly 143,000 children and pregnant mothers enrolled in the health program.
But health care inflation, expanded enrollment in KidCare and advances in medicine raised Medicaid's costs-- 13 percent in 2000 and another 10 percent this fiscal year.
The 2001 supplemental budget request includes $200 million to keep Medicaid on track for the rest of fiscal year 2001. The Governor pledged to continue to work with health care leaders and lawmakers on cost containment strategies.
ENVIRONMENT AND AGRICULTURE
This budget continues the great strides made over the last two years to protect our environment and natural resources while enhancing the vital agricultural economy and helping rural Illinois.
- The budget includes the third $40 million installment of the Illinois Open Lands Trust, a four-year program that has placed tens-of-thousands of acres in public hands.
- $ 5 million for Illinois Rivers 2020, an important program being led by Lt. Governor Corinne Wood that will leverage $50 million in federal funds.
- The budget also includes $2.5 million to support the "Illinois Tomorrow" program, which helps cities and villages plan their future growth.
- The Department of Agriculture would launch AgriFIRST with $3 million for grants to enhance and develop products that expand the value of our state's raw crops.
- $2 million for a new alternative fuel incentive program to spread the use of ethanol.
- A $150 million expansion of the state's existing revolving loan programs to help more towns and villages fix up aging water systems.
Gov. Ryan's budget proposes significant investments in public safety with the hiring of more state police officers and the addition of corrections beds.
The Governor's budget continues the second year of tax relief including the $35 million Earned Income Tax Credit; the $105 million Circuit Breaker/Pharmaceutical Assistance program for seniors and the $75 million Tuition Tax Credit for parents of school children.
Gov. Ryan pledged to work to secure more funds for Illinois from Washington; particularly an increase in federal formulas that determine how much Illinois is entitled for numerous social services and education programs.
The Governor noted Illinois is home to 4.5 percent of the nation's Medicaid population, yet under current federal formulas receives only 3.5 percent of federal Medicaid funds. That one percentage point difference represents a loss to Illinois of approximately $1 billion every year.
Illinois taxpayers must pay a greater share of the cost of Medicaid than do taxpayers in our neighboring states. The federal reimbursement rate for Illinois is 50 percent while Wisconsin is at 59 percent; Indiana, Missouri and Iowa all are reimbursed at more than 60 percent and Kentucky is at 71 percent.
Gov. Ryan pledged to work in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation with the General Assembly to pass the 2002 budget.
"We will ensure that our state government does the most good for the greatest number possible," Gov. Ryan said. "We are a strong state and this budget for 2002 will make us stronger."