Keicher’s Korner: State Budget, Legislation Update & More

Rep. Keicher speaks with staff on the House floor.

As I’m sure you have heard by now, last week most, but not all, Democrats in the General Assembly passed the largest budget in state history, which the Governor has now signed into law.

Since before the Governor’s budget proposal in 2023, my Republican colleagues and I have been warning that our state would face a deficit as federal COVID relief funds ran out and all the new spending initiatives created by progressive Democrats and the Governor ran out of funding sources. Well, this budget lays bare that problem as Democrats are ramming more than a billion dollars in tax increases and cost shifts down taxpayers’ throats that will only stand to drive more Illinois families and job creators out of our state.

As I’ve said many times before, instead of creating new and costly programs to satisfy the never-ending spending demands of progressives, we should be focused on providing tax relief and shoring up funding for critical programs that support our most vulnerable citizens like seniors and the disabled. Programs for our disabled, our seniors, survivors of domestic abuse and the hungry are going underfunded while other programs are ramping up or getting significant increases.

Instead, the state budget has ballooned from $39 billion when I entered office to more than $53 billion – the largest budget in state history. We’ve seen a 35 percent increase in revenue since I entered the General Assembly, but it still hasn’t been enough to keep up with this insatiable need for spending. How is that still not enough?

On top of the tax increases, the Democrats are shifting fund reserves and taxes collected from outside the city of Chicago for their own pet projects. This budget takes video gaming tax dollars collected from other parts of the state for capital projects and sends it to Chicago for their infrastructure projects, leaving the rest of the state in the lurch again.

It’s another year, but unfortunately, this budget includes the same old gimmicks, tricks, and tax hikes that we’ve seen before. The citizens of Illinois deserve a better process and a better product from their government.

For more information and an independent recap of the state budget, I recommend this story from Capitol News Illinois – Click Here.

In addition to the budget, several other important pieces of legislation also passed the General Assembly in the final weeks of the spring session. A recap of several of those bills is below.

State Budget, Legislation Update & More

Democrats needed three tries to pass tax hikes just before 5 a.m.

After a near-derailment and an all-nighter to wrap up the General Assembly’s spring session, supermajority Democrats in the Illinois House gave final legislative approval to the state budget as the sun rose on the morning of May 29. Despite holding 78 seats in the chamber, it took Democrats three tries to reach the 60 votes needed to approve more than $1.1 billion in revenue increases, including tax hikes, to balance the $53.1 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2025.  Read More Here.

Keicher’s bill supporting underage trafficking victims ready for Gov’s signature.

Victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, especially children, represent our most vulnerable, and we need to do everything we can to help them through their recovery process. I believe one of the first steps in that process is ensuring their past doesn’t follow them around, and that’s exactly what House Bill 5465 helps us do.

The Legislation builds on a law we passed last year by creating an easier process for child victims of trafficking to have their juvenile records expunged or sealed as a result of any criminal acts they were forced to take part in while being abused.  Read More Here.

Roadside trash problem headed for the dump as bill heads to Gov’s desk.

For years, I’ve been frustrated with the trash that’s been windblown from waste haulers going from transfer stations to landfills through our communities. Besides the litter problem, trash blowing off waste trucks is a safety hazard, and it is damaging local farmers’ fields and equipment.

House Bill 4848 will help us curb the problem by strengthening the current requirement for how waste hauling trucks must cover their loads, as well as holding the companies accountable through an updated violation and fine process.  Read More Here.

More good legislation from the final weeks of session.

Senate Bill 3350 makes it easier for the public to access life-saving fentanyl test strips.

Senate Bill 3566 further builds on the waste hauler legislation mentioned above by expanding the requirement for landfills to operate facilities to clean the wheels and undercarriages of vehicles departing the landfill to prevent more garbage from being tracked back into our communities.

House Bill 681 seeks to correct glaring errors in how the state’s Prisoner Review Board addresses parole hearings of violent offenders and notifies victims of any potential release. You may remember hearing recently about a convicted violent felon who was released and immediately went to the home of his ex-partner and killed her 11-year-old son and injured the woman and her other child. While this legislation initially passed the House, it was amended in the Senate, and a concurrence vote did not happen in time before the spring session adjourned.

Concerning legislation from the final weeks of session.

House Bill 4720 will share, without taxpayer notice, the personal income data of all Illinois taxpayers with the Treasurer’s office for marketing purposes. I strenuously objected to this legislation because the Illinois Treasurer manages the state’s money, NOT yours! Protecting our personal data is one of the most important things in our modern age. Despite many bipartisan objections, this legislation still narrowly passed.  Click Here to hear my full remarks.

Senate Bill 3157 is the worst kind of political pandering and a direct attack on religious freedom! The bill would have given the Treasurer the ability to deny some non-profits access to state programs because of their religious beliefs. Doing so is anathema to the very essence of our constitution and our republic. It’s even more disturbing when the sponsor of the legislation makes it clear organizations supporting Hamas and overtly antisemitic protests don’t seem to be a problem! Fortunately, our vigorous debate forced the sponsor to pull the bill from the record.  Click Here to hear my full remarks.

House Bill 4582 removes a provision requiring school boards to go to referendum for certain types of bonds. I voted no. Schools, and all taxing bodies, should need the approval of voters to exceed bond limits. Unfortunately, this legislation is on its way to the Governor for his signature.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives!

Smoke alarms can cut the risk of death from home fires in half. The DeKalb County Red Cross is providing free inspection and installation of smoke alarms. To learn more or request an installation, contact DeKalb County Red Cross Home Safety Lead, Charlie, at 312-350-8100 or Click Here.

Upcoming Events:

  • Kid’s Fair.

Rep. Dan Ugaste and I are hosting an Outside Kids Fair on Saturday, June 8, at Chapelstreet Church in Geneva. The event will be held from 9:30 am. to 12:30 p.m. Chapelstreet Church is located at 3435 Keslinger Road. Click Here for full details.

  • Understand & Learn How to Appeal Your Property Taxes – Kane Co.

Please join me, State Sen. Dave Syverson and Kane County Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong to learn about the process for determining your property taxes and how to appeal if you are being over-assessed. The event will be Thursday, June 13, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Waubonsee Community College – Sugar Grove Campus. Click Here for full details.

  • Mobile DMV.

Sen. Dave Syverson and I are hosting a Mobile DMV with the Illinois Secretary of States Office on June 27 at our joint office in Hampshire. Services offered will include: Driver’s License, State ID Card, REAL ID, License Plate Renewal Stickers, Organ & Tissue Donor Registration and Motor Voter Registration. Space is limited. Please reserve your spot by emailing Lori Yates as or calling 217-782-2181. Click Here for full details.

I hope you’ve found this update helpful. I’m honored to serve you as your State Representative. As always, please feel welcome to call or e-mail me with any questions, concerns, or feedback on these or any other issues.