April is National Volunteer Month and I would like to give a special shout-out to all you amazing volunteers out there! Whether you help out at your local food bank, hang with the animals at a nearby shelter, or volunteer at your kiddo’s school, you make our community a better place by sharing your time and your talents with others. We all rise when we help others. Thank you for making our community great!
Are you looking for volunteer opportunities? Join our office on Fridays and Saturdays as we help with weekly food distribution at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in West Chicago. Many families in our community are feeling the effects of inflation and unsure of where to find their next meal. Pastor Josh’s weekly food distribution provides resources for those who need it the most. Volunteers are needed to help pack and distribute food boxes. Call or email our office for details.
The first week of April was a busy one in Springfield as my colleagues and I worked hard to meet the end of session deadline of April 9. Our number one priority was passing a fiscally and socially responsible budget. I am proud that we came together to create a budget that gives financial relief to the people and families that need it most, while also taking steps to restore the fiscal responsibility of the state. This budget also funds key initiatives around health care equity, community development, and business attraction.
To combat inflation, our budget includes a one time infusion of more than $1.8 billion dollars in aid for people and families. Here are some key elements:
We are suspending the grocery tax for a year, saving consumers $400 million
We are freezing the gas tax for 6 months-saving consumers $70 million
We are doubling the property tax rebate to save up to $300 per household
We are increasing and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to cover more people, including immigrants.
To assist working-class parents as they manage the pressures of inflation, we are giving EIC tax filers additional one-time direct checks for $50 per adult filer and $100 for each of their children.
We are doubling the teacher tax credit for purchasing classroom materials and creating a back-to-school tax holiday for all consumers.
In addition to supporting Illinois families we have made strides to be responsible stewards of our state finances. The fiscally-responsible steps we are taking will continue to raise Illinois’ credit rating and improve our financial forecast. These steps will also save on future interest payments that otherwise would continue to eat into our budget. We will be able to spend that extra money on essential services for the people of Illinois.
$9.6B will go to fully funding our pension obligations for fiscal year 2023. Countless Illinoisans worked for years to earn their pensions, and we must honor the commitment we made to them.
We are paying down $4B in unpaid bills which includes:
All COVID-19-related borrowing
$900M in delayed health insurance bills
$500M in pension stabilization
Late payment interest
We’re infusing $1B into the once-depleted Rainy Day Fund
After the budget signing, my social media highlighted different areas of the budget in more detail. You can find these on my Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feeds.
I am proud to announce that the Fox Valley Park District was awarded a much needed appropriation for exciting new improvements to Lippold Park. As part of their comprehensive plan to expand outdoor education programming and multi-use space at Lippold Park the FVPD will be constructing a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Fox River to connect East to West. This project will increase access to Red Oak Nature Center and will open up the trail for even more folks to use. We are so excited about this project and I am happy to have helped advocate for this much needed capital appropriation.
In addition to the budget, in the last days of session we passed important public safety legislation.
HB4383 Senate Amendment 2 – Ghost Gun Ban (Hirschauer Chief-Cosponsor) – with the passage of this bill Illinois became the 12th state to ban unserialized firearms, including those that can be 3D printed or made from kits. As an advocate of common sense gun violence prevention, I am very proud of this bill. The rise in ghost guns is the fastest growing gun safety problem facing our state. Requiring serial numbers for ghost guns will help law enforcement solve crimes. Furthermore, prohibiting the purchase, sale, and manufacturing of ghost guns is a critical component to common-sense gun safety legislation.
Other public safety initiatives in this budget total nearly half a billion, with new dollars going toward youth intervention programs, witness protection, and police recruitment. More than $70 million has been allocated for domestic violence prevention, as well as $2 million for expanding trauma recovery centers.
Despite the shortened session, we were very busy in Springfield! For a more in depth update please consider joining me for my “End of Session Town Hall” on Tuesday May 10 at 7pm. Register on my website.
Rep Hirschauer had so much fun talking with 4th grade students at Alice Gustafson and 5th graders at J.B. Nelson Elementary Schools in Batavia. The future is BRIGHT with these smart, curious, and thoughtful kiddos at the helm. Thank you having Batavia Public School District 101 for having the Representative!
District Office in Action
You may have seen our recent press release highlighting the additional needs of our local food pantries. The office is in contact with Pastor Josh at St.Andrew’s on a regular basis, is hosting a food drive this month along with Senator Villa’s office, and securing additional donations from some of our local companies and organizations. Today we helped with the preparations for tomorrow’s food pick up and are looking forward to next week’s Whole Family Health Fair at that same location!
If you hear a knock at your door, it may be our office out connecting with constituents and getting the word out about our services and events. After her time in Springfield, Maura is enjoying these opportunities to get out into the district to meet up with constituents one-on-one and hear about their needs and concerns.
District 49 is expanding our staff! If you have a passion for serving the community and are interested in the ways our state office can serve constituents, then this could be an opportunity for you! We are currently accepting local applicants for a Constituent Service and Community Outreach Coordinator, as well as for Fall Interns. Contact the office at 331-465-9661 with questions or submit a cover letter, resume, and references to firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 27 – Mobile DMV
with Senator Karina Villa
West Chicago Public Library 118 W Washington St, West Chicago
Whole Family Health Fair
Food Distribution and Health Resources
Saturday Apr 30, 8am-12pm
St. Andrew Church 155 N Prince Crossing Rd, West Chicago