SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, issued the following response to Gov. Pritzker’s State of the State address on Wednesday:
“After paying down billions in debt early, replenishing our rainy-day fund and passing balanced budgets year after year, Illinois is sitting on its most stable fiscal foundation in years. Our numerous credit rating increases from Moody’s, S&P and Fitch are proof of that and the responsible budget we will soon pass is sure to bring more growth.
“Illinois’ financial strength provides an opportunity to make significant progress on a number of pressing issues for our community, especially public safety. The Protecting Illinois Communities Act was an important step forward but following tragic shootings like those we saw in Highland Park last Fourth of July, and just days ago at Michigan State University, it’s vital we appropriate significant funding to combat the epidemic of gun violence. To put a stop to this heartbreaking problem, I will advocate for funding dedicated to mental health services, community outreach programs and smart law enforcement practices.
“Too many young people are facing an increasingly competitive workplace without the assistance of higher education. In my position on the House Higher Education committee, I’ll push for necessary reforms and improvements for 4-year universities, vocational schools and community colleges.
“I am encouraged that Governor Pritzker’s budget proposal appropriate emphasis on education, particularly early childhood education, with the Smart Start initiative. Studies have shown that high quality early childhood education including pre-K, is among the most effective investments we can make in a child’s future. I look forward to reviewing the Governor’s proposal in greater detail as we move toward a vote.
“I am also pleased to see that the Governor’s priorities include efforts aimed at reducing poverty. I applaud his commitment to addressing food insecurity and homelessness, which disproportionately impact vulnerable and marginalized Illinoisans.