Belt HoffmanSPRINGFIELD – Continuing their work to uplift families across the Metro East, State Senator Christopher Belt and State Representative Jay Hoffman supported a financially responsible state budget plan that provides services for those who need it most and makes crucial investments for the next generation.

“I made sure the Metro East was not forgotten in the budget process. I wanted to ensure that the municipalities that comprise the 57th District received their fair share,” said Belt (D-Swansea) “That’s why there is a $15 million allocation for Veterans Property Tax Relief Reimbursement Pilot Program, which will reimburse St. Clair County for every property tax deduction, exemption and freeze they provide for our veterans.”

Belt, Chair of the Senate Appropriations - Public Safety & Infrastructure committee and Vice-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee was deeply involved in budget negotiations for the Senate. He was proud to support a budget gives the Metro East’s infrastructure and education institutions the funding it needs.

“I also wanted to make sure that students in the area receive the same opportunities that students in Chicago and suburbs get,” said Belt. “The budget includes a $350 million in new funding toward the evidence-based funding model for K-12 education and increases need-based tuition assistance by $100 million – to a total of $701 million, which will help keep property taxes from rising and ensure that our students have access to great schools.”

This increased funding allows nearly all community college students at or below median income levels to have their tuition and fees covered through MAP and Pell Grants, which is good for Southwestern Illinois College and surrounding communities.

“This is a responsible and compassionate state budget that prioritizes investment in the issues families are facing,” Hoffman said. “We’re dedicating significant resources for our public safety efforts, while also increasing funding for childcare and early childhood education. If we want to build a stronger Illinois, we need to support the next generation and ensure that every individual in the Metro East has an opportunity to succeed. I appreciate the advocacy from Sen. Belt, Rep. Katie Stuart and all of the local leaders who used their voice to help put together a strong budget that will help our community.”

Once signed into law, the FY 24 Budget will take effect July 1.

Category: Press Releases

Belt EOSQuoteSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt issued the following statement after the Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2024 budget:

“The budget represents the commitment our state has to bettering the lives of all Illinoisans and allowing for a safer, more prosperous future. The budget is balanced and a strategic approach to fiscal planning that prioritizes the needs of our state.

“I have always been a strong advocate for public safety. As the Chair of the Senate Appropriations- Public Safety and infrastructure Committee, I am pleased to see the millions of dollars in investments to public safety and violence prevention that will strengthen our communities. The budget recognizes the role that law enforcement plays in public safety and provides funding for resources, such as vehicles and body cameras, to equip these agencies with the tools they need to prevent and solve crimes. In addition, over $200 million in funding for the Reimagine Public Safety Act to prevent gun violence and expand funding for youth employment programs is included within the budget. These investments will foster safer environments for all and ensure a brighter future for Illinois residents.”

“The budget also calls necessary attention to education at all levels. I stand firm in my belief that investing in education for our youth is critical for the future of Illinois. Investments such as these promote well-being among all Illinois residents and fiscal responsibility for the state."

Category: Press Releases

RevenueBeltSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Senate passed a revenue package Wednesday containing a number of tax credits and tax emptions, including two measures championed by State Senator Christopher Belt that provide tax incentives to electric vehicle manufacturers and aircraft engine suppliers and manufacturers.

“The electric vehicle industry showcases the potential for the future of our state,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “Not only do these measures incentivize growth of the electric vehicle and aircraft engine industries, but also it will drive economic prosperity in Illinois while reinforcing the state’s commitment to fostering a sustainable business environment.”

The Aircraft Engine Sales Tax Exemption exempts materials, parts and equipment used in the modification, replacement, repair and maintenance of aircraft engines from sales tax. Belt, as chair of the Senate Appropriations-Public Safety and Infrastructure Committee, was actively involved in budget negotiations and advocated for this tax exemption, originally Senate Bill 2210, to keep business in the state. Currently, businesses are serving aircraft engines for the Chicago area and Metro East from neighboring states because they offer this tax exemption.

The revenue package also contained an addition to the Renewable Energy Vehicle Act. Belt originally sponsored Senate Bill 2576, which would allow electric vehicle manufacturers or businesses that intend to convert or expand to EV manufacturing to qualify for Renewable Energy Vehicle tax credits. The businesses will be required to commit to making at least $500 million in capital investments and retaining at least 800 full-time employees.

“Expanding these tax incentives will lead to an increase of good-paying jobs and economic development,” said Belt. “This is truly a testament to Illinois’ commitment to economic growth, environmental sustainability and technological advancement.”

Senate Bill 1963 passed both chambers with bipartisan support and heads to the governor’s desk.

Category: Press Releases

BeeltRevenuePkge1SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt applauds the inclusion of a tax credit for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel in the recently passed state revenue package.

“Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of our neighborhoods. They bravely respond to emergencies, risking their lives to save others,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “However, in recent years, retaining dedicated volunteers has become challenging. This tax credit is a small token to honor and thank these individuals for the work they do.”

To qualify for the $500 tax credit, people must serve as a volunteer firefighter for at least nine months of the year and receive no more than $5,000 in compensation for their services during the taxable year.

Illinois has struggled with a shortage of firefighters and EMS personnel volunteers. Providing an incentive will encourage these volunteers to stay long-term.

“These volunteers are the backbone of our emergency response systems and some communities rely on volunteer fire departments when a crisis occurs,” said Belt. “With this tax credit, we are sending a clear message that we value and appreciate their dedication to protecting our lives and the communities we live in.”

Senate Bill 1963 passed both chambers with bipartisan support and heads to the governor’s desk.

Category: Press Releases

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