ILLINOIS (WMBD) — “COVID last year blew a hole in the budget,” Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs told WMBD.
The State Treasurer stopped by WMBD in Peoria to discuss the state’s current financial status, and how the budget recently passed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker will impact Illinoisans.
“We saw an increase in expenditures for healthcare, and we saw a decrease in revenue. However, we saw the economy start to rebound and I think the General Assembly passed a balanced budget that’s gonna pay down our backlog of bills and hopefully result in an increased credit rating for the State,” Frerichs said.
Frerichs touted his office’s retirement program and college savings program, saying his Illinois Secure Choice retirement plan was one of his top priorities in the last legislative session.
“The Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program can allow now up to 900,000 more people save their money for retirement. Making sure more Illinoisans can have a retirement with dignity and enjoy their golden years,” Frerichs said.
The treasurer said the financial aid from the federal government is also another way the state’s finances are improving. These funds are all part of the “All in for the Win” lottery program.
Any Illinoisans who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are eligible in the lottery program. A total of $7 million is being distributed for adults, and $3 million is being distributed for students’ scholarships.
“The money is coming from the federal government hoping to get more people vaccinated. We’re excited to work with the Governor’s office to help fund more college savings accounts. We’re excited to invest this money, to grow it, so more students are graduating with less student debt,” Frerichs said.
Names will be drawn starting July 8.
Frerichs wanted to remind anyone interested in attending college about his office’s Bright Start program. It’s a 529 college savings plan.