Response to Governor JB Pritzker’s Budget Address


Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, issued the following statement in response to Governor JB Pritzker’s budget address:

“As a union of frontline workers providing home care, child care and healthcare services, we applaud the Governor’s commitment to investing in crucial services in ways that will not only provide much-needed care to more families, but also help provide the economic stability that makes it possible for more workers to enter and stay in caring professions.

“While his leadership as an advocate for providing needed care services was evident in the Governor’s address, his proposed funding priorities fall short from what is required to address Illinois’ ongoing care crisis.

“We’re encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to continued increased investment in early childhood education and care, and look forward to working with him to continue to implement Smart Start and the new early childhood state agency, while also investing in the existing early childhood workforce.

“We support the proposed funding increase in the Governor’s budget to meet the existing rates and caseload of the growing Community Care Program. However, the budget lacks funding required to address the cause of the state’s care crisis—the fact is that the crucial jobs that provide home care and child care services are not good and stable jobs. Care workers struggle with unlivable paychecks and no means or path to retirement. The result is that there are simply too few care workers to provide these services. In the Community Care Program, the number of authorized hours of care for which no caregiver is available is now up to 46% and will only continue to go up failing a real investment in the care workforce.

“Care workers are a stabilizing force both in the state’s economy and in the lives of the thousands of working families who rely upon their services. It is our hope that the Governor and the legislature will address the needs of these workers in budget deliberations and add in the funding needed to lift their wages to $20 an hour as a means of stabilizing the workforce for all who need care in the state.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislature to build off of this proposed budget to ensure that home care and child care workers—and the crucial services they provide—are prioritized, and to advocate for the additional investment required to serve the needs of seniors and those who care for them.”