Executive and Legislative Achievements

Over the last two years, Governor JB Pritzker and the General Assembly focused on protecting and enhancing the lives of everyday Illinoisans. And the Governor led the state through the COVID-19 global pandemic, enacting response and recovery efforts that preserved the lives and livelihoods of people all across our state.

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Pandemic response

Beyond the pandemic

Pandemic response

Healthcare access and public health

  • Among the first states in the nation to slow the spread of COVID-19 by introducing life-saving mitigation efforts and providing free statewide COVID-19 testing
  • Provided free COVID-19 treatment to all Illinois residents who became ill
  • Deployed National Guard and built out thousands of vaccination sites in every corner of Illinois
  • Sourced millions of masks, gloves, ventilators and protective equipment from around the globe to protect Illinois families, healthcare workers and first responders
  • Redirected $100 million from Medicaid managed care companies to immediate community-based needs, like food banks and telehealth equipment to support customers during the pandemic
  • Provided comprehensive daily public updates on vital information, including the latest science and developments regarding COVID-19
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Small businesses recovery

  • Sustained more than 9,000 small businesses in 2020 alone with $290 million in funding
  • Boosted economic recovery in 2021 with additional $570 million to aid small businesses and targeted industries across the state
  • Opened seven new Small Business Development Centers to assist businesses apply for federal pandemic relief and to help businesses plan to meet new pandemic consumer demands
  • Funded programs dedicated to downstate businesses, workforce recovery, and childcare
  • Initiated the COVID-19 Summer Youth Employment Program, helping low-income and disadvantaged youth develop workplace skills and gain employment experience
  • Provided $5 million in business grants to agricultural businesses affected by COVID-19
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Serving vulnerable communities

  • Increased capacity and streamlined access to emergency shelter for individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence during the pandemic
  • Expanded transportation, grocery shopping and meal delivery to tens of thousands more seniors during the pandemic
  • Sent one-time $500 payments to low-income families through the IDHS’ TANF program
  • Provided resources and assistance to local organizations serving our most vulnerable citizens
  • Provided unprecedented support for vulnerable immigrant & refugee families, including cash assistance, housing & utility assistance, employment & job training services, and healthcare education
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Addressing pandemic education and childcare

  • Launched nation-leading $570 million childcare grant program to support over 5,000 childcare providers
  • Reduced childcare co-pay for pandemic essential workers to $1 per month
  • Provided pandemic relief for individuals with private student loans
  • Promoted learning recovery best practices with expert guidance to K-12 schools, with specific recommendations for using additional $7 billion in federal aid
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Food security

  • Provided over a million Illinois children with over $1 billion in food relief through Pandemic EBT program
  • Helped school districts provide free lunch to eligible students during remote learning
  • Expanded meal delivery programs for seniors and worked with grocers to set aside special shopping hours exclusive to vulnerable older residents
  • Expanded SNAP food assistance to low-income Illinoisans hit hardest financially by the pandemic
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Housing support

  • Protected families suffering pandemic financial hardship from losing their homes with the nation’s most efficient housing assistance program, providing $2 billion to over 150,000 landlords and homeowners
  • Prohibited evictions & vehicle repossessions for those suffering pandemic-related financial hardship
  • Prevented utility shutoffs for 115,000 homes and facilitated utility bill reductions of over $115 million
  • Expanded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program by $275 million

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Beyond the Pandemic

Fiscal responsibility

  • Stabilized state finances, leading to the state’s first ratings upgrade in more than 20 years, receiving an additional ratings upgrade and leading all three ratings agencies to improve the state’s fiscal outlook
  • Eliminated the state’s multi-billion dollar bill backlog so Illinois is paying its bills on time for the first time in two decades
  • Balanced three straight budgets, investing in key priorities like education, healthcare, and human services while paying down state debt
  • Consolidated nearly 650 downstate and suburban first responders’ pensions, alleviating billions in local property tax burden
  • Closed $655 million per year in corporate tax loopholes, reducing the state’s structural deficit
  • With robust state Census count effort, achieved nation’s highest response rate among the largest states and the 7th highest overall, assuring billions of additional federal dollars for the next decade
  • Launched the new $1 billion adult-use cannabis industry, creating jobs and new businesses, with a focus on social equity applicants
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Economic growth — creating jobs and investing in business

  • Prioritized job creation, with pre-pandemic statewide unemployment reaching historic lows and with every region in the state creating jobs simultaneously for the first time in 20 years
  • Managed more than $40 billion in infrastructure investments to improve the state’s roads, bridges, public buildings, colleges, waterways, ports, parks, public transportation and many other key infrastructure
  • Introduced 5-year economic plan for Illinois to reinvigorate state’s economy by focusing on the nation’s fastest growing industries
  • Secured $1 billion investment in research centers of excellence focused on Illinois’ industries, located at the newly created Discovery Partners Institute
  • Dedicated more than $400 million to Connect Illinois, the largest high speed internet expansion effort in Illinois history
  • Attracted $5 billion in new data centers to Illinois with targeted tax incentive, creating new high paying tech and construction jobs
  • Created a business apprenticeship tax credit, encouraging job growth and workforce development
  • Extended the film industry tax credit, creating and supporting thousands of entertainment industry jobs
  • Strengthened Illinois Works Jobs Program by investing $25 million for community-based organizations to recruit diverse apprentices to work on state’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program
  • Created incentives for job creation on new construction and renovations in underserved communities
  • Established annual reporting on corporate board diversity for public companies to encourage greater representation
  • Invested $15 million In two downstate Manufacturing Training Academies: an electric vehicle jobs partnership with Rivian at Heartland Community College in Normal and an Advanced Manufacturing Center at Southwestern Illinois College
  • Positioned Illinois to be an electric vehicle technology hub in the Midwest by providing companies with competitive incentives
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Early childhood education

  • Created an early childhood workforce plan with $200 million in funding to expand both the size and skill level of educators and caregivers
  • Launched pilot program to support quality improvements for childcare providers in rural Illinois
  • Expanded childcare assistance to provide support for 20,000 more children
  • Strengthened early education and childcare with biggest state investment ever into early childhood programs and facilities, and set a goal to make Illinois the best state in the nation for raising young families
  • Increased reimbursement rates for early childhood educators to provide better early learning for very young children
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Elementary and secondary schools

  • Increased overall education funding by more than $1 billion
  • Provided historic high level of Evidence Based Funding for K-12 students
  • Raised teachers’ pay and strengthened the pipeline for recruitment
  • Expanded vocational training and career and technical education
  • Provided strategies and best practices for schools to ensure a welcoming, safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students
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College affordability

  • Increased scholarship funding so that an anticipated 20,000 additional need-based grants for students will be awarded and increased the maximum size of each scholarship to a record amount
  • Increased by 40% merit scholarships for high achieving college-bound students
  • Expanded the number of Illinois students eligible for federal tuition aid, helping a record number of students afford post-secondary school
  • Restored and stabilized higher education funding after years of neglect, increasing public universities and community colleges
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Health care — improving quality and affordability

  • Provided $3.8 billion to hospitals to increase patient access to medical treatment in underserved communities - a product of the bipartisan, bicameral legislative Medicaid Working Group
  • Enacted Healthcare Affordability Act expanding healthcare for more children, pregnant women and adults
  • Expanded health care to more than 130,000 more Illinoisans by nearly eliminating the Medicaid backlog left behind by the previous gubernatorial administration
  • First state in nation to provide Medicaid postpartum coverage to mothers for a year after baby’s birth
  • Capped out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 for a 30-day supply
  • Increased funding for crisis mental health services, suicide prevention, and substance abuse treatment
  • Improved quality of care for seniors through better funding for nursing home and in-home care
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Serving and protecting Illinois families

  • Protected women’s reproductive rights in Illinois from a potential Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade
  • Established the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity (JEO) Initiative, led by the Lieutenant Governor, to advance criminal justice reform and equity-focused programs
  • Awarded and planned distribution of over $100 million from adult-use cannabis tax revenue to address communities harmed by violence, excessive incarceration, and economic disinvestment
  • Enacted historic reform agenda of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to dismantle systemic racism in key pillars: criminal justice reform, education, economic opportunity and healthcare
  • Allocated $40 million for new home buyers, providing down payments and student loan repayment assistance to working class families and communities of color across the state
  • Enhanced protections for domestic violence survivors from retaliation by their abusers
  • Implemented gun dealer licensing to eliminate straw purchases and reduce gun trafficking
  • Expunged minor cannabis-related offenses for 500,000 Illinoisans, reducing barriers to employment, housing and professional licenses
  • Joined the US Climate Alliance, committing to reducing state’s carbon footprint, and put forward the Consumers and Climate First Act in the General Assembly
  • Expanded wind energy production to create jobs and revitalize rural communities
  • Launched comprehensive overhaul of DCFS to protect vulnerable children and hired 860 new staff, including 514 new direct service positions
  • Made significant improvements in DCFS hotline, nearly eliminating callbacks required to complete a report compared to 58% requiring a callback in 2019
  • Elevated and strengthened safety for first responders on state highways
  • Strengthened the Illinois State Police Division of Forensics Services to address the forensics backlog and introduced rape evidence tracking tool
  • Protected immigrant families by limiting coordination by local law enforcement with ICE
  • Provided millions of Illinoisans relief from high interest on consumer debt
  • Eliminated driver's license suspensions for non-moving violations and reinstated driving privileges
  • Fully funded reconstruction of Quincy Veterans’ Home and restarted long-delayed 200-bed Chicago Veterans' Home by spring of 2020
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Government reforms and bipartisanship

  • Spearheaded effort to restore the public’s trust in their elected officials, bringing more transparency and accountability by mandating lobbying disclosures and by establishing a bipartisan commission to recommend comprehensive ethics reforms
  • Passed new ethics guardrails to stop abuses like lobbying while working for government
  • Built the most diverse executive branch in state history
  • Hired the first Chief Diversity Officer in the state’s history in order to take a comprehensive approach to diversity, equity and inclusion plans throughout state agencies
  • Expanded state employee pension discounted buyout program to reduce pension liabilities
  • Established an interagency working group to advance electric vehicles in Illinois and to ensure future vehicles purchased or leased by the State of Illinois will be low-emission and zero-emission vehicles
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