SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved a Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which included key wins for education, health care and a home modification program. In response, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) released the following statement:
“It is vital that we support the youth in our state in both their educational and mental development. Educational advancements would mean nothing if we weren’t also supporting our students as they grow, struggle and learn who they are. That is why I am pleased to see this budget not only increases funding to education but to mental and behavioral health services as well.
“There are many educational wins in this budget. Of this, I am glad to see $45 million going towards the first year of a three-year pilot program to fill teacher vacancies. There has been a massive strain on the educational workforce in our state, and this funding will help both teachers and students.
“As a former social worker, I know how important it is to pair education with mental health services. I am proud this budget will give over $22 million to begin implementing the new Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative. However, when it came to further health care funding, I am disappointed to see this budget decreased funding to the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, who provide medical services to those who are uninsured or underinsured. I will keep fighting for more funding to these programs in the future.
“Finally, I am eager to announce that $7.5 million dollars has been awarded to the Home Modification Program that I introduced to the Senate with Senate Bill 120. The program will offer financial assistance so people with disabilities may pay for home modifications to improve their living situations to assist them in day to day life, such as a stair lifts. This program will benefit seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. I would like to thank my friend and colleague, Representative Maurice West, for introducing this program.
“My colleagues and I have worked diligently to provide our state with a budget that will provide something for everyone, and I was proud to see it pass today.”