SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) released the following statement in response to the Illinois Senate’s passage of a state budget for Fiscal Year 2021:

“As expected, the budget priorities for our state were altered due to the worldwide pandemic. I am glad funding for our schools were held flat and local governments will continue to receive funding through these difficult times. In addition, we focused on funding for our families, unemployment needs, businesses impacted by COVID-19 and local public safety.

“This budget was cut by nearly $1 billion from the governor’s initial proposal and does not include legislators’ pay increases. It does include full pension payments and ensures our needed construction projects continue.

“I recognize our budget will take advantage of much needed federal support, as all states’ budgets will,  but the Senate worked hard, in a bipartisan manner, to address our state’s greatest concerns and direct dollars accordingly.”

SPRINGFIELD — In an effort to provide relief and flexibility to property tax owners, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) voted in favor of a measure that will defer tax sales and give counties the ability to extend homestead exemptions and waive late fees.

“Property taxes can often be a financial burden to many, but even more so because of the public health crisis,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “These measures will provide some relief to our residents.” 

The measure gives county assessment officers the ability to approve homestead exemptions without 2020 applications for residents with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens who qualify for assessment freezes.

Under this legislation, local businesses and residents would see property tax relief in the form of:

  • Empowering county governments to approve 2020 homestead exemptions for those with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens, as long as the property had been granted this exemption for 2019;
  • Allowing counties with less than 3 million residents to waive interest penalties and fees for late property tax payments due in 2020;
  • Deferred property tax sales for all counties except Cook.

County assessment officers can still conduct audits of taxpayers claiming an exemption in order to verify the applicant is eligible to receive the senior citizen’s assessment freeze through the homestead exemption.

Senate Bill 685 also defers tax sales and gives the county the authority to waive property tax interest penalties.

The measure passed both chambers and awaits final approval from the governor. 

PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) announced  a plan for a gradual reopening of child care centers has been put in place, as parents prepare to return to work. 

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“I know there are concerns from parents who are worried they will not be able to return to work because they do not have reliable child care,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I’m pleased childcare facilities will safely reopen soon, so families can start to get back to some normalcy.”

All child care facilities will be able to open under phase 3 and 4 of the governor’s reopening plan, as long as they create their own reopening plan that ensures policies to keep both children and staff safe and healthy, and adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

That plan must include what to do if a child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, daily symptom checks and a face covering requirement. 

No more than 10 children will be allowed in a childcare facility for the first four weeks. After four week of following proper health, social distancing and sanitation routines and guidelines, it will be able to expand to larger group sizes, though not its full licensed capacity.

“While a gradual reopening, parents need the assurance their children are in a safe and healthy environment,“ Bertino-Tarrant said. “Extra precautions will allow peace of mind for the parents and allow our daycares to slowly get back to business.” 

All regions of the state are on track to move to the next phase as early as May 29. 

PLAINFIELD — As people struggle to make rent and mortgage payments, keep their small businesses afloat, and deal with the other hardships created by the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is urging the Will County Board to immediately establish a panel to distribute federal CARES Act funding to residents in need.

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“Will County was awarded money to help the residents of our area combat the financial hardships they are facing due to COVID-19,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We must work quickly and diligently to make sure the needs of all Will County residents are met in a timely manner.”

The federal government passed the CARES Act in March to provide financial relief for workers, families, small businesses and local governments that have been impacted fiscally by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is up to county officials to decide where Will County’s share of the money goes.

In addition to supporting local health operations, Bertino-Tarrant is asking the county to consider establishing grants to prevent evictions, creating a program to provide forgivable loans to small businesses that have experienced interruptions due to COVID-19 and providing direct financial assistance to families or individuals.

“It is imperative to establish a process for reviewing and distributing dollars to address the needs of our residents,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “People throughout the community are struggling, and it’s up to us, the area’s public officials, to prioritize those we serve.”

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