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May 17, 2000

Education, Technology, Tax Relief and Public Safety Highlight $49 Billion Budget

Governor George H. Ryan today signed into law a $49 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2001 that again fulfills and surpasses his pledge to dedicate 51 percent of all new state revenues to Illinois schools and workforce training programs.

Approved last month by the General Assembly, the new state budget includes a record commitment to education and human services, $350 million in tax relief for Illinois families, the creation of the VentureTECH initiative and the establishment of the state’s first-ever "rainy day fund."

"This budget is a responsible spending outline that keeps our commitment to education, helps improve our human infrastructure, protects our neighborhoods and strengthens our environment," Ryan said. "Ninety-three percent of the new money allocated in this budget is directed at education, child care, health care for the poor and public safety.

"We’ve allocated a record amount of money for schools and workforce training, boosted funding to protect our human infrastructure, provided significant tax relief for families, set up the Venture TECH program to foster high-tech development, and established the first-ever "rainy day fund" to protect us from any unforeseen fiscal emergency."

Again fulfilling his pledge to allocate at least 51 percent of all new state revenues to education and workforce training, Ryan noted that the FY 2001 budget guarantees that $462 million, or 52 percent of the state’s new revenues, will be used for education and workforce training. In all, education and job training will receive $8.39 billion under the FY 2001 budget.

The FY 2001 budget also helps seniors, homeowners and low-income families with $350 million in new tax relief. The 2001 tax relief plan will increase the number of seniors eligible for the state’s circuit breaker program, allow for a one-time property tax rebate later this year and create an earned income tax credit to help the working poor.

More than $276 million in new state resources will meet Ryan’s goal to improve and bolster the state’s "human infrastructure" of services. The new funding will mean an increase in the scope and depth of services to benefit the poor and disabled, abused children, seniors, the mentally disabled, families needing quality child care, the homeless, and children without health insurance.

The governor’s five-year, $1.9 billion VentureTECH initiative, approved intact by lawmakers, will make Illinois a leader in the growing, high-tech "New Economy" of the 21st Century. VentureTECH will provide the resources to advance technology education and training, research and product development in biotechnology, high-energy physics, information technology, manufacturing, medicine and food science.

As a hedge against an unexpected downturn in the economy, the governor secured the creation of a $225 million "rainy day fund." This new account, combined with the budget’s predicted surplus, will mean an end-of-year budget balance in FY 2001 of $1.3 billion.

Highlights of the FY 2001 state budget include:




The 2001 budget earmarks a record $8.39 billion for education and workforce training, an overall increase of $462 million or 52 percent of new state revenues.

Elementary and Secondary Education – A $5.9 billion overall budget, including a $327 million increase. This secures $34 million increase in general state aid, which increases the per pupil "foundation" spending level to $4,425.

Higher Education -- A $2.5 billion overall budget, including an increase of $133 million. The budget includes an increase of $23 million to improve the scope and breadth of the state’s scholarship and student aid programs.

Safe to Learn -- $14 million to continue Attorney General Jim Ryan’s school-based safety and violence prevention grant program to preserve school safety.

Early Childhood Education and Summer Bridge Student Programs -- $10 million for early childhood programs, summer bridge education initiatives and reading programs.

New Teachers -- $56 million to fund the second year of initiative to hire 10,000 teachers over four years to reduce class sizes.

Teacher Training -- $1.5 million in funding for a professional development pilot program for teachers, with the hope to fund several more sites next year.

Job Training -- $24.2 million for the Industrial Training program, which helps companies with specialized training for workers; $2 million to create the School-To-Work Transition program, allowing youth to enter the workforce in areas where there is a demand for their skills.


The $350 million tax relief package approved by lawmakers this spring is the latest in a multi-year tax relief effort that has generated nearly $1 billion in savings for Illinois taxpayers.

Property Tax Rebate -- $280 million for a one-time rebate equal to 5 percent of a residential homeowner’s 1999 property tax bill. The rebate check will not exceed $300. The average rebate will be $125 and around 2.2 million residential property owners will benefit.

Earned Income Tax Credit – Three-year plan that allows an estimated 270,000 low-income families to keep more of their earned wages, rather than paying taxes. The credit for eligible families is equal to 5 percent of the federal government’s earned income tax credit. The program will cost $35 million a year for a total tax savings of $105 million over three years for federal tax credit. The average credit will be $55.

Circuit Breaker Expansion – An increase in the eligibility levels for the circuit breaker program will save taxpayers $35 million in each of the next three years. Income eligibility levels will increase from $16,000 to $28,480 for a 2-person household and to $21,218 for a single-person household. The pharmaceutical cap is increased from $800 to $2,000 annually and will include new coverage for drugs affecting Alzheimer’s Disease, glaucoma, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer and the treatment of respiratory diseases.

Existing Tax Relief – The full phase-in of the personal exemption on the state income tax to $2,000, a savings of $325 million; full-phase in of the "single sales factor" on the state corporate income tax, a savings of $100 million; and the income tax credit for school costs, a savings of $75 million.

    • Illinois VentureTECH

The General Assembly fully funded the five-year $1.9 billion strategy for investing state resources in research and development.

Education, Research & Development – A $340 million investment in the Illinois Century Network; $54 million for an advanced optical network that will allow state universities and laboratories to work with industry on the Internet; and $192 million for classroom technology enhancements for kindergarten through high school.

Venture Capital Funding – The governor, with the full cooperation of state retirement systems, will direct close to $800 million over five years in designated venture capital investment funds to high-tech start-up firms and other Illinois companies seeking financing.

Technology Infrastructure -- At the University of Illinois, $93 million for a new medical school in Chicago; $80 million for a new post-genomics biotechnology institute, a new $31 million building for the National Center for Super Computing Applications, a new $71 million chemical sciences building, a new $19 million microelectronics laboratory, an $8 million computer in engineering laboratory, a $53 million pharmacy science building and an $11 million MRI facility in Chicago; $30 million for a biomedical research facility at Northwestern University.

Rural Telemedicine -- $8 million over the next five years for health systems in underserved areas run by Southern Illinois University.

Government improvements -- $400 million over the next five years for technology management improvements within state government.


State Agency Services -- A 2.5 percent rate increase for the state’s human services providers at a state cost of $65 million. Nursing homes will realize an increase in support of $24 million, hospitals and tertiary care facilities will receive $17.5 million and the Academic Excellence in Medicine program will receive $5 million.

Child Care – An $118 million increase in child care support – about $200 million over the last two years. This new funding will serve a total of 218,000 children.

Tobacco Settlement Health-Related Funding -- $85 million in tobacco settlement funds will be used for medical and technical research and smoking prevention efforts. This total includes $10 million for elementary and high school smoking prevention programs, $10 million for local health department anti-smoking prevention programs, $5 million for state operated youth prevention programs, as well as $4.1 million for various other smoking prevention efforts.

Medicaid for the Aged, Blind and Disabled – A commitment of $59 million to begin expanding Medicaid services for the aged, blind and disabled to 100 percent of federal poverty level. This move will free-up existing funds in the state circuit breaker program to allow the coverage of additional prescription drugs and to increase funding for the purchase of prescription drugs for low-income seniors by $265 million over five years.


More State Troopers – Funding to train and hire 86 new Illinois State Troopers. The governor also included funds to purchase new patrol cars and replace high-milage vehicles.

More Prison Beds -- $1.3 billion for the Department of Corrections that includes full funding for 1,082 new prison beds.

Capital Litigation Trust Fund -- $17.7 million to provide enhanced services for legal teams involved in the prosecution and defense of capital crimes. Last year’s allocation was $8.7 million.

DNA Testing -- $4.3 million to improve the Illinois State Police Forensics Laboratory in Springfield and to maintain DNA testing capabilities statewide.


Rainy Day Fund -- $225 million will be set aside for first-time state rainy-day fund for use at the discretion of the governor and General Assembly in the event of an unseen economic downturn that threatens state services.


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