Rep. Marlow Colvin, D-Chicago, the
chairman of the Illinois House Black Caucus, outlined several
funding priorities as the legislature continues its budget
negotiations: elementary and secondary education, early childhood
development, AIDS prevention, and health care. In particular, Colvin
identified the expansion of FamilyCare, which serves parents of
children in the KidCare health insurance program, as crucial to
gaining Black Caucus support for the budget.
The caucus also pushed legislative
leaders to build on the progress made in preschool and K-12
education in last year’s budget. Colvin said caucus members support
a $250-per-student increase in education funding, which would mean
an additional $105 million for the cash-strapped Chicago Public
Schools. They also want to invest another $30 million in preschool
programs for at-risk toddlers.
"These are difficult economic times,"
Colvin observed. "However, that is all the more reason to be sure
that we pass a budget that will help those most affected to get
[to top of second column in this
The deadline for passing a budget with
a majority vote was May 31, so now it will take a three-fifths vote
to pass. During the final hours of the regular session, the Illinois
Senate passed a budget that included increased funding for K-12
education, preschool, child care, FamilyCare and other Medicaid
health programs. The Illinois House had adjourned before the Senate
package could be called for a vote. Negotiations on a final budget
are still under way.
leaders and budget negotiators continue to meet to try to find an
agreement on the budget, I want the voices of the House Black Caucus
to be heard loud and clear: We won’t support a budget that hurts the
people we serve," said Colvin. "We were elected to help bring
opportunity and progress to our communities. Even though we’re
dealing with limited resources this year, we will not turn our backs
on people who need help the most."