Pacione Zayas BudgetAddressSPRINGFIELD – Following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address, State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas is excited about the proposed investments in early childhood, housing and violence prevention.

“I am thrilled that the governor and I share the same priority—doubling down on the promise of Illinois as the best state to raise young children,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “The proposed investments in early childhood are the first steps to accomplish this. I look forward to working with colleagues in both chambers to deliver the resources and tools for our young children and families to thrive.”

The governor established early childhood as a priority for the FY 2024 budget, allocating $250 million to the Smart Start Illinois early childhood initiative. The multi-year plan provides a comprehensive approach to investments in preparing children to be lifelong learners, and invests in ISBE Early Childhood Block Grants, Childcare Workforce Compensation Contracts, Early Intervention, DHS Home Visiting Program, Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarships, and more. 

As the chair of the newly formed Early Childhood Committee in the Senate, Pacione-Zayas is delighted that the issue is recognized as a statewide priority.

“When people think of early childhood, of course they consider supports for child care and the school system, but often don’t consider that early childhood development is about early experiences and therefore is affected by the family’s wages, living conditions, and access to high quality health care among many other factors,” Pacione-Zayas said. “The budget proposal is an amazing start to address these issues, and I look forward to collaborating with the governor and my colleagues to invest in our children.”

The budget also allocates $350 million in affordable housing, which supports stabilizing our communities by combating housing insecurity, folks facing difficulties finding work when experiencing homelessness, and battle gentrification in Chicago neighborhoods. It also invests in violence prevention programs, such as $635 million in the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and $138 million in the Department of Juvenile Justice.

“The rising cost of living not only disrupts the lives of folks who are priced out of their homes, it also disrupts and separates communities that have called neighborhoods home for generations,” Pacione-Zayas said. “Investing in affordable housing helps our fight against gentrification, and allow families to stay in the communities they have helped to shape.” 

Senator Pacione-Zayas looks forward to advocating for early childhood, housing, and violence prevention in the upcoming budget negotiations.


Category: Press Releases

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