02052020HAO0457SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham praised the budget proposal offered by Governor JB Pritzker Wednesday for its focus on funding education and public safety in Illinois.

The governor’s proposal includes several increases for education at all levels, including increases of $50 million for the early childhood block grant and $350 million in evidence-based funding for K-12 schools throughout the state.

“I’m glad to see that Governor Pritzker is continuing to maintain his commitment to making a high quality education available for students at all levels,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “These funding increases would be a significant win for students and educators throughout the state.”

College affordability was also a focus of the budget proposal, which included increases of $50 million for the MAP program and $35 million for the AIM HIGH program. Both programs provide financial assistance for low- and middle-income students who wish to pursue a post-secondary education.

“Rising tuition and fees have placed a college education out of reach for far too many students in our state,” Cunningham said. “We need to ensure that every student who wants to pursue a degree will have the opportunity to do so, and increasing funding for these programs is a great step toward that goal.”

Cunningham also expressed his support for the proposed investments in public safety, including $17.2 million to fund three Illinois State Police cadet classes that will graduate an estimated 255 troopers.

“The work of our state troopers is instrumental in making Illinois a safe place to live, and adding three new classes to their ranks will help them better protect and serve the people of Illinois,” Cunningham said.

Category: Press Releases

Cunningham 2017 PresserCHICAGO – The school districts of Evergreen Park and Worth will be eligible to receive property tax relief thanks to a state grant program, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced Friday.

“One of the top issues in our state right now is the need to find new solutions to our sky high property tax rates,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This program is a critical step toward bringing those rates down in some of the highest taxed school districts in Illinois.”

Evergreen Park Community High School District 231 will receive $668,831 in grant funding while Worth School District 127 will receive $866,277.

The grants will be distributed through the Illinois State Board of Education’s Property Tax Relief Grant program, which seeks to ease the burden on residents of heavily taxed school districts. The amount of the grant then becomes a permanent part of the districts’ yearly base funding amounts going forward.

“The funding available through these grants is going to be a major boost for these school districts for years to come,” Cunningham said. “This is going to help us start shifting some of the school funding burden away from local taxpayers and onto the state.”

More information about the Property Tax Relief Grant is available at https://www.isbe.net/proptaxrelief.

Category: Press Releases

Pro TemSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham was named president pro tempore of the Illinois State Senate Tuesday by Senate President Don Harmon.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to continuing serving in the Illinois Senate as a part of President Harmon’s leadership team,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This is an exciting new role for me and I look forward to the new challenges it brings.”

As Senate president pro tempore, Cunningham will serve as a trusted advisor to the Senate President and a senior member of his leadership team.

“We have a lot of work to do on behalf of the people of Illinois this spring,” Cunningham said. “I’m looking forward to working with President Harmon and my colleagues in the General Assembly to tackle the biggest issues facing our state, including reducing out of control property taxes and reforming our ethics laws to hold those in government accountable.”

Cunningham has represented Illinois’ 18th Senate District since 2013. Prior to joining the Senate, he also served in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Category: Press Releases

Pink tieSPRINGFIELD – A measure co-sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham that speeds access to a property tax break for seniors was signed into law Tuesday.

House Bill 961 will allow seniors to benefit earlier than originally scheduled from a new law removing the need for Cook County residents aged 65 or older to reapply annually to receive the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption, a property tax exemption designed to assist senior citizens financially.

Seniors will have to apply only once more for the Homestead Exemption in 2020 before being grandfathered in to the program. A previous law would have required them to reapply through 2021.

“The application process for the Homestead Exemption can be confusing for some people and it just doesn’t make sense to require it more than once,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “Once you turn 65, you’re always eligible for the exemption. We shouldn’t be forcing people to prove that year after year.”

Currently, every county in Illinois other than Cook may allow seniors to receive the exemption without reapplying.

The measure also requires Cook County agencies to record events that would end the exemption, such as property transfers, to ensure that ineligible property owners do not take advantage of the tax break.

House Bill 961 passed the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives without opposition in November.

Category: Press Releases

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