Capitol Report from Senator Craig Wilcox

Governor Signs Record Spending Budget with Billion-Dollar Tax Hike

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s government spending plan, which relies on $1 billion in tax increases, officially became the largest budget in state history when he signed it into law on June 5.

Despite bipartisan opposition, the controversial budget sets a new high-water mark for government spending, surpassing $53 billion. This eye-popping total represents a surge of almost $13 billion, or 32% since Pritzker took office.

This significant increase in government spending during Pritzker’s tenure has been fueled by one-time COVID relief funds and unexpectedly high state revenues. Despite warnings from Senate Republican lawmakers to exercise caution with these temporary funds, Pritzker and his allies in the legislature created new programs and permanently increased government spending.

Now that the federal money has run out, the Governor is raising taxes by almost $1 billion to fill the gap and fund around $1 billion in yearly spending on programs for migrants, including top-tier healthcare. 

While non-citizen spending continues to skyrocket, the new budget falls short for members of the developmentally disabled community, K-12 and college students, and taxpayers who bear the brunt of the costs.

A budget is a statement of priorities, and while the Governor’s FY25 budget is the largest in state history, it clearly doesn’t prioritize the people of Illinois. 

Upcoming events in the 32nd Senate District

My first two Traveling Office Hours events of the summer are schedule for this week in Fox Lake.  At these events, I bring the services my office provides to my constituents’ hometowns. I am also offering both morning and late afternoon/early evening events to fit people’s schedules. Additional traveling office hours will take place the following week in Cary.

My staff members are experts in constituent services, so I would encourage anyone who is having issues with state agencies to stop by and receive assistance, This includes those having issues with unemployment, FOID cards and CCL licenses, professional licensing, and other issues. For additional information, please contact my office at (815) 455-6330.

Additional upcoming outreach events include:

  • July 17: I-CASH Unclaimed Property Day, Crystal Lake
  • August 3: Youth Fishing Derby, McHenry
  • August 17: Legislative Office Open House, Woodstock
  • September 19: Barks & Brews Pet Adoption Event, Woodstock
  • October 15, Senior Fair, Crystal Lake

As the dates approach for these events, additional information with times and locations will be shared. You can also visit the Events Page on my website to learn more about them.

Controversial Election Law Ruled Unconstitutional

A controversial new law that would drastically change the state’s election laws and reduce competition at the ballot box was ruled unconstitutional by a Sangamon County judge on June 5.

Senate Bill 2412, which was signed into law by Governor Pritzker in May, would make significant changes to the rules for an election process that is already well underway. Most notably, it would have ended the slating process currently taking place in districts throughout the state, effectively sidelining potential challengers to entrenched incumbents in November.

Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation when it came before the General Assembly in May, arguing that it was a blatant power grab by Illinois Democrats intended to prioritize their control over the electoral process at the expense of Illinoisans’ rights to fair and open elections.

Lawmakers Call Out State Treasurer for Politicized Investing

Senate Republican lawmakers are taking aim at the State Treasurer’s Office for politicizing the management of nearly $60 billion in state investments.

It is the Treasurer’s duty to protect the state’s investment portfolio and implement savings programs to help Illinois residents create a better future for themselves and their families. However, questions have been raised about the Treasurer putting his political agenda before his fiduciary responsibility, spurring the filing of Senate Resolution 1003.

The Treasurer is a leading advocate of the highly controversial and politically motivated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment philosophy. ESG has become a subjective and amorphous criterion linked to a controversial political agenda. Due to its inherently political nature, ESG has fallen out of favor, leading many major investment firms to abandon this approach and focus on maximizing investment returns.

Legislation Allowing Sheriffs to Serve on Local 9-1-1 Boards Passes General Assembly

Legislation to amend the Emergency Telephone System Act to explicitly include sheriffs as eligible members on local 9-1-1 boards recently passed the General Assembly. The hope is to recognize the role sheriffs play in ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities.

House Bill 5128 addresses a longstanding issue by formally allowing sheriffs to serve on local 9-1-1 boards. These boards are deeply involved in planning, implementing, and maintaining the 9-1-1 systems. They are responsible for receiving and managing 9-1-1 surcharge funds, authorizing disbursements, and hiring necessary staff to support system operations and upgrades.

Including sheriffs on these boards will ensure that their expertise and insights as law enforcement officers are integrated into decision-making that directly impacts emergency response services. The legislation passed the Senate on May 16th and will now advance to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Governor’s Hometown Awards

The Governor’s Hometown Awards (GHTA) program is now accepting applications for projects that made a meaningful impact on local quality of life from January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023.

The program honors those who’ve gone above and beyond to enhance their communities. Townships, villages, cities, and counties with projects sponsored by a local government unit and supported by dedicated volunteers are encouraged to apply.

Winning projects in their respective categories will be awarded the Governor’s Certificate. Additionally, population division winners will earn an invitation to compete for the Governor’s Cup in Springfield this August.

Please visit the Illinois Department of Human Services website for more information about the program, including how to apply.

IDOT Launches Click it or Ticket Campaign

The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police are participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, urging drivers to buckle up and be safe on the roadways.

This annual initiative aims to crack down on seat belt violations and impaired driving. Highlighting the importance of seat belt usage in preventing road fatalities, officials urge vigilance during the upcoming “100 deadly days of summer,” a period marked by increased traffic fatalities between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

With a focus on saving lives, Senate Republicans encourage all motorists and passengers to buckle up for safe travels in the coming summer months. Visit for additional information on this initiative.

Craig Wilcox

Want to stay up to date with Senator Wilcox?

Sign up for his E-Newsletter below: