Frerichs talks about state budget and grant program while visiting Champaign

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CHAMPAIGN – State Treasurer Mike Frerichs has said Illinois is balancing its budget, even without a progressive income tax that voters rejected last year. And he says the governor and lawmakers must continue to do so.


Frerichs, a Democrat, made his remarks Tuesday, during a visit to the Champaign Farmers Market, which is held every Tuesday in downtown Champaign. Frerichs was there to encourage small nonprofit groups to run a grant program that his office manages to fund food, shelter, labor, and economic programs.

Frerichs on the state budget

Speaking to reporters, Frerichs credited Governor JB Pritzker and the General Assembly with creating a 2022 budget that respects the state’s means and pays its debts. Two credit rating agencies, Moody’s and S&P Global Ratings, upgraded their ratings for Illinois up a notch, although those ratings remain the lowest among US states.

Frerichs called on Illinois leaders to continue their efforts in future budgets.

“I think the General Assembly and the Governor continue to work together, to live within their means, to meet our needs here in this state, but also to pay off our debts, I think we continue to see rating increases. bonds, ”Frerichs said.

Frerichs says more can be done to strengthen the fiscal health of the state government, but it will have to be done without a progressive state income tax, which Illinois voters rejected in a referendum on the constitutional amendment of the state in the November 2020 elections.

“I think voters had a chance to weigh in,” Frerichs said. “They weighed in. I think it is now the job of the General Assembly and the governor to make sure they adopt balanced budgets, pay down our deficits and keep Illinois on track. financial security. “

Frerichs dodged a question about the role of federal stimulus funds in strengthening the state budget. He also said a tax on retirement income was unnecessary and played down a suggestion he made last year about how it would be politically easier to tax income from retirement. retirement if voters approved a progressive income tax.

“I think the comments I made have been taken out of context,” said Frerichs, who adds that he has not yet decided whether he will run for a third term as state treasurer in 2022. “I think the General Assembly needs to focus on the balanced budget shift. I don’t think we need to tax retirement income.

Frerichs on Charitable Grants

Frerichs’ main topic during his visit to Champaign was the application period, which continues until September 30, for the Small Nonprofit Grants from the Treasurer’s Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund.

A total of $ 200,000 is available in the current grant cycle, to fund grantee grants up to $ 20,000 to help nonprofits provide food, shelter and job skills. The grants are funded by the application fees that nonprofits pay when they incorporate in Illinois.

Frerichs said that despite the small size of the grants and the nonprofits involved, the money awarded by the Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund can go far.

“When you leverage that state money, with the money (nonprofits) can raise through their own private networks and volunteers, we have a much bigger impact than doing it on our own. . “

On Tuesday, two scholarship holders were present at the Champaign farmers market.

One was Sola Gratia Farm, a 16 acre vegetable farm run by Lutheran Church of St. Matthew in Urbana. Sola Gratia was selling produce at the Champaign farmers market on Tuesday.

Director Traci Barkley said their grant from the Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund allowed them to hire a full-time employee to focus on outreach programs.

“And by having a full-time person in place, it allows us to have more sustainable programs, to collaborate more effectively, and to reach more people with our product and education programs,” said Barkley.

The earth connection, which operates the Champaign Farmers’ Market, is another Charitable Trust grant recipient.

Executive Director Jacquelyn Evers said Land Connection used a grant from the Charitable Trust – the second time it has used the grant program – to pay for “Kids’ Kits,” a meal kit program that the organization has used. created to teach children about healthy food options.

Evers says Charitable Trust grants have helped Land Connection deal with unforeseen expenses that are difficult to cover.

“Charitable Trust has been great working with them because they allow us to adapt to those needs and they are great people to work with,” said Evers. “They provide significant funding for our programs and they benefit the causes our community needs funding for right now, such as food insecurity and nutritious eating.”

Nonprofits with annual budgets of $ 1 million or less are encouraged to apply for the final round of charitable grants with the state treasurer’s office until September 30. Applications can be made on the program website, ilcharitabletrust.com, or by calling 217-836-4590.

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