Governor JB Pritzker has presented his State of the State address and presented his proposal for Illinois’ FY2023 budget. In his FY2023 budget book, Gov. Pritzker outlines a historic plan to address climate change. He’s the first Illinois governor to include a detailed plan addressing climate in the state budget, demonstrating a strong commitment to combatting this crisis. His approach includes enactment of the Climate & Equitable Jobs Act, new programs for electrification of the transportation sector and incentives for clean technology manufacturing.
In addition, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Agriculture receive new funding and increased goals for staffing levels, something IEC has repeatedly called for over recent years.
Finally, after years of absentee budgeting that left our state government underfunded and scrambling to perform basic environmental and public health protections, it is relieving to again see a balanced budget. While fiscal management isn’t glamorous, it is critical to staffing and resourcing key environmental state agencies and programs. We appreciate Gov. Pritzker’s approach to fiscal stability and predictability. However, we will continue to monitor whether these agencies have sufficient funding and employees to complete the important work that must be done.
We are very excited about the $113 million in federal funding that will address the lead service line replacement program, but disappointed that funding for conservation in agriculture, particularly through Soil and Water Conservation Districts, has been cut in half. We’ll be advocating with the legislature and Governor’s office to restore this critical funding.
More of our analysis is below:
Agriculture and Conservation
- The Fall Covers for Spring Savings program, which provides cover crop insurance discounts to farmers, is appropriated at $660,000, the same as FY2022.
- Unfortunately, funding for conservation efforts in agriculture have been cut in half, including huge reductions to soil and water conservation districts.
- $2.5 million is reappropriated for disadvantaged and urban farmer programs under the American Rescue Plan.
- Local Healthy Foods Incentives program, which provides a matching grant for SNAP purchases at farmers markets, is funded at $500,000 (funded through the Department of Human Services).
- Increased funding and staffing headcount was included for the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
- The conservation and open space programs we support were fully appropriated and not swept, such as Natural Areas Acquisition Fund and Open Lands Trust Fund.
- $56 million in new capital funding for the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Fund, which funds parks and open spaces.
- $6 million in new capital funding for the Natural Areas Acquisition Fund, which could fund the Natural Areas Stewardship Act grant program.
- $15 million for Matthiessen State Park improved public access.
- Much of the Volkswagen settlement funding for electrification remains, with $80 million reappropriated for FY2023. The IEPA is reworking the settlement plan to support electrification, marking another huge win.
- $56 million is appropriated from the Renewable Energy Resources Fund for the Illinois Solar for All program.
- A total of nearly $20 million for IEPA’s state energy program, including nearly $9.1 million in grants from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
- Rebates for electric vehicles are funded at $8.5 million.
- The state’s capital budget includes $441.6 million over five years for loans to fix drinking water infrastructure and $150.8 million to address toxic substances in drinking water, such as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
- An exciting $113.1 million in federal IIJA funds for lead service line replacement loans and $2 million in funds for planning. There is an estimated $565.6 million over the next five years for lead service line replacement loans.
- IEPA is receiving increased funding and staffing headcount.