QUINCY, IL — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is promising more funding for education across the board.
Pritzker gave his first budget address Wednesday, touting a new fair tax and promising an increase in education funding.
The governor’s speech at the state capitol Wednesday afternoon lasted about 45 minutes.
Pritzker addressed the state's deficit in his speech, as well as a new tax, education funding, and public safety, to name a few.
"The budget I present to you today is an honest proposal, the costs are not hidden, the revenues I proposed are not out of reach, the hole we need to fill is not ignored,” said Governor Pritzker.
The governor’s inaugural budget address Wednesday afternoon included proposed investments in education, social services and public safety.
"Last year alone the state paid out more than $700 million in state late payment penalties,” Pritzker said.
He says out of this year’s $39 billion budget, $20 billion is required to pay on the states debts.
The 43rd governor says the state needs a fundamental tax reform to fix its problems.
Pritzker said, "I choose a fair tax system to get us out of this mess."
According to the governor, a fair tax system is expected to raise taxes for the rich and offer a relief of burden on the working middle class.
State Representative Randy Frese says nothing is "fair" about the governor’s fair tax proposal.
"That's his word for it. He calls it a 'fair tax,' I do not,” Frese said. “There is a whole bunch of people who do not. The simple truth is, it is going to be a graduated income tax."
The governor also wants to reinvest in education, proposing an extra $100 million for the Early Childhood Block Grant program, a five percent increase to public colleges and universities, and an additional $50 million to the MAP Grant Program.
Representative Frese says education funding is a major win, especially in his district.
"There’s going to be a lot of colleges, like John Wood Community College that are excited about hearing that,” Frese said.
WIU President Jack Thomas agrees, saying he looks forward to working with the governor and lawmakers to increase funding for Western Illinois University and Illinois Public Higher Education; keeping the best and the brightest students in Illinois.
The governor promised to begin rebuilding health and human services by increasing eligibility for child care programs, funding for DCFS, and by raising the minimum wage. It also would provide funding to the Chicago Veterans home.
But what his budget proposal didn't address Wednesday afternoon, is the ongoing project at the Illinois Veterans home in Quincy.
"I would have also have liked him to say that he is going to be finishing the project that is underway in Quincy, so we'll be following up with that. Senator Tracy and I,” Frese concluded.
Pritzker's proposal also calls for more public safety dollars, and funding additional training for State Police.
To offset some of these costs, Pritzker has included the legalization of recreational marijuana, and sports betting. He's also proposing a tax on insurance companies to help cover the costs of the state’s Medicaid program.