SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D- Chicago, and the Illinois House on Wednesday approved legislation to provide funding for a number of state programs, including Illinois State Lottery payouts, home energy assistance for low-income families and grants for HIV and AIDS prevention.
“With the cold-weather months upon us, it is even more important that the state do the right thing and help struggling families keep their homes warm,” Ford said. “I’ve voted a number of times over the last several months to fund this important home heating program, but partisan politics and reckless ideas have prevented the funding from getting to the families that need it. I hope, with Republican legislators finally joining us in support of this bill today, that the politics have ended and that the governor will approve this needed funding.”
Amid strenuous state budget debates, funding for many state assistance programs, such as the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which assists low-income households with utility bill assistance, halted. Senate Bill 2039 would allocate a full year of appropriations, $165 million, to the program to help elderly residents and struggling families heat their homes. The bill also funds the Illinois State Lottery $1 billion for payouts on all lottery games, including $2 million for the Red Ribbon Game scratch-off game. Spearheaded by Ben Montgomery, a resident of Chicago’s west side, the net proceeds from the Red Ribbon game provide funding for HIV and AIDS prevention services throughout the state.
“The best thing the governor could have done was to approve this funding in May when House Democrats first passed a spending plan, but I’m hopeful that progress has been made today on needed dollars for lottery winnings, including games that HIV and AIDS prevention,” Ford said. “More work must be done to implement a budget that avoids disastrous cuts to middle-class and struggling families, but we took an important step forward in making sure state resources are used to benefit our communities.”