Governor Pritzker recently introduced his FY20 Budget Proposal in an address to the General Assembly. IEC is pleased that this budget reflects many of our community’s priorities, and will help advance clean energy, preserve natural resources, and protect our air and water.
Over the past 4 years, severe budget cuts to agencies and environmental programs resulted in significant staffing reductions and drastically fewer enforcement actions. Even when funds were appropriated, in some cases they were never released to the programs/agencies for which they were intended.
The budget proposed today changes that by prioritizing funding for environmental programs. For instance, the budget includes a proposal for a statewide 5-cent plastic bag fee that is estimated to raise $19-33 million annually while reducing plastic bag use. IEC will advocate that funding raised from a plastic bag fee be put towards local-level environmental programs and reducing plastic bag use.
Our initial review of the FY20 budget indicates that environmental programs received level or increased funding, and that federal/capital funding was sufficiently appropriated. Read more more below:
Governor Pritzker underlined the need to reach 100% renewable energy in Illinois and satisfy his commitment to the US Climate Alliance in his address, and the proposed budget reflects that:
- $50 million is appropriated from the Renewable Energy Resources Fund for the Illinois Solar for All program
- $2 million for the Office of Energy to promote energy efficiency programming targeted at environmental justice communities from the Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund
- VW settlement funding is appropriated at $80 million; IEC will advocate that electric school buses and electric vehicle charging stations are prioritized
Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- Soil and Water Conservation Districts is at $8.2 million, which is similar to FY19. This amount will fully fund staffing, but not programs at SWCDs
- The Department of Natural Resources budget is equal to FY19
- The state will hire twenty new conservation police officers. Conservation police officers are at 50% capacity and these new hires are desperately needed to protect our natural resources and keep those involved in outdoor recreation safe
- OSLAD, NAAF, and OLT are all appropriated towards open space programs
- DNR headcount is projected to increase by 50
- $660 million in new appropriation authority for drinking, storm and wastewater low interest loans to local governments
- The IEPA recycling office received increased funding from Solid Waste Management Funding
- IEPA is authorized to have a headcount of 768, an increase from the current 639
The budget introduced today is just the first step in this process. IEC and our affiliates will continue to advocate for our priorities and monitor the budgetary progress over the next few months, while also focusing on our community’s priorities for a capital infrastructure budget.