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.