Capitol Report from Senator Craig Wilcox

Governor Proposes $3 Billion Spending Increase During Budget Address

On Feb. 15, Gov. JB Pritzker proposed his fifth budget to the Illinois General Assembly during his annual Budget and State of the State Address. While he painted an idealistic image of Illinois’ fiscal outlook, he failed to address the looming realities the Illinois economy is likely to see.

The plan laid out by the Governor increases permanent state spending by $3 billion, despite expert warnings of decreased revenue likely to be brought on by a recession. In the last few years, Illinois has benefited from a massive influx of federal dollars and increased revenues due to COVID-19 relief programs and inflation. Those days are about to end, and the Governor is failing to account for these realities. 

Despite these very real threats, the Governor’s outlined budget plan further expands state government (the Illinois budget has increased more than $10 billion since he took office). While the Governor’s professed goals of funding priorities like early childhood programs and public safety initiatives are laudable (I support universal pre-K), we must focus on creating a sustainable budget that will not spend Illinois residents into a major tax increase. A larger conversation is needed about structural reforms that will allow the state to protect our future investments and prioritize spending within its means. Following the Governor’s 55-minute address, I gave a radio interview and spoke about how I believe the Governor’s plan will impact our state. You can listen to that interview here.

McHenry County Senate Republicans Deliver a Combined 20,000 Valentines to Seniors

In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, the four Senate Republicans that represent portions of McHenry County delivered a combined 20,000 valentines to seniors living in nursing homes, assisted and memory care centers, and long-term care facilities. Between Senators Don DeWitte, Dan McConchie, Dave Syverson, and myself, we delivered valentines to 91 different facilities (McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, suburban Cook), providing smiles to thousands of seniors. The program was part of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus’ third annual “Valentines for Seniors” program.

This caucus-wide outreach program gets bigger and better every year, and this year Senate Republicans delivered just under 60,000 valentines statewide. For the “Valentines for Seniors” program, we reach out to school, scouting, church, and other groups to seek homemade valentines, well-wishes, or other cards and words of encouragement that are delivered to seniors. The program is also promoted on individual social media pages and through media releases, which leads to many individual donations as well.

We thank everyone who participated in this year’s program, making it our best yet!

The U.S. Celebrates American Heart Month!

February is American Heart Month, a designated period where the U.S. strives to address the number one killer of Americans – heart disease. This month has been declared by the president for the past 59 years, and this year the focus will be on the importance of CPR. More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital and 70 percent of those occur at home. Meanwhile, performing CPR can double or triple the chance of survival for a person in cardiac arrest.

This year, the American Heart Association has issued a nationwide challenge for every household to have at least one person know how to perform CPR. A simplified version called Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective in the first few minutes of treatment, and has only two steps. This simplified version stresses that the most important part of CPR is to keep the heart beating through chest compressions at approximately 100 beats per minute.

Last week on Tuesday, we recognized Go Red for Women Day at the Capitol, and Senate Republicans, both legislators and staff, were out in force to shine a light on women’s heart health issues by wearing red.

Craig Wilcox

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