Statement on Illinois’ Proposed Budget

Women Employed
3 min readFeb 22, 2024

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February 22, 2024

Women Employed is encouraged by Governor Pritzker’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2025, which he unveiled on February 21st along with his State of the State Address. Given the challenging budget year, we expected — and received — a modest proposal compared to previous years. However, instead of simply maintaining funding across the board, the Governor is recommending increased investments in current programs and services and new money to launch programs that will help women and families across Illinois.

The investments in higher education this year continue the work to make up for years of disinvestment and to support students at all levels of postsecondary education. An additional $10 million for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) — Illinois’ need-based, financial aid grant — will allow all eligible students to receive a grant and help students to afford a college education―especially women, Black and Latina/o/x students, students from low-income households, and nontraditional adult students.

Governor Pritzker’s proposed two percent increase in funding for public colleges and universities would also help Illinois stay on track toward adequately funding higher education. With this new investment, we can begin to realize the goals of the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s Strategic Plan, to close equity gaps for students who have been left behind. But to truly achieve that goal, we need to move away from the status quo of simply increasing funding across-the-board for institutions of higher education, and toward an equitable funding model that prioritizes students with the greatest needs. Our institutions that serve the highest shares of Black and Latina/o/x students and students from low-income backgrounds have been struggling too much with too little funding for too long. Women Employed’s President and CEO Cherita Ellens serves on the Commission for Equitable Public University Funding that is working hard to create an equitable, adequate, and stable funding formula for our public universities. However, in the absence of that formula, we can still invest our dollars in ways that support racial and economic equity in our colleges and universities.

In addition to the investments in higher education, we are excited that Governor Pritzker proposed a new $12 million investment in an Illinois Child Tax Credit. A Child Tax Credit is a proven and effective policy that reduces child poverty and will give thousands of parents the resources they need to put food on the table, buy formula, pay off bills, purchase clothes for a growing toddler, or whatever they decide is best for their family.

Additionally, amid a child care crisis, the budget acknowledges the critical role child care plays in our economy by increasing funding to stabilize and support the child care workforce — which is comprised primarily of women and largely women of color — and for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which will help more families cover the cost of child care while they are working, in education and training programs, or searching for jobs. However, our care infrastructure needs more than incremental increases — we need a substantial investment that would reshape the way we support and value care.

While these investments fall short of transformative funding, we are encouraged to see increases in essential programs and services. We are looking forward to working with the General Assembly to take Governor Pritzker’s budget from proposal to passage.

About Women Employed

Since 1973, Women Employed has worked to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity by affecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces so that all women, families, and communities can thrive. For more information, visit womenemployed.org or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Women Employed

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.