Illinois Back On Track FB

MARYVILLE – Fitch Ratings has revised its outlook on Illinois’ General Obligation bonds from negative to positive, and State Senators Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) and Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) are commending the upgrade as a direct result of responsible spending.

“Over recent years, Illinois has made strides toward fiscal responsibility by including cost-saving initiatives in our budget, such as reducing the bill backlog,” Crowe said. “While our state continues to progress to a more financially stable position, this outlook upgrade ensures we are on a path to a brighter future.”

Fitch’s is the third ratings agency to upgrade the state’s forecast, in addition to Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s.

According to Fitch’s analysis, the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year provides Illinois a stable foundation for further financial improvement. Recent debt payments and a reduction of nearly a billion dollars in spending since 2020—without sacrificing funding for pensions, K-12 or higher education—suggest responsible budget management and movement toward fiscal stability.

“I am thrilled to see Fitch Ratings has lifted their outlook on our state’s finances,” Belt said. “This outlook shows we are making responsible economic policy decisions and moving forward as a state from the pandemic.”

Fitch’s full analysis is available here.

Category: Press Releases

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East St. Louis – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) is reminding people to look out for text and email scams asking for personal information from someone pegging themselves as the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“With the increase in hacking, residents need to be aware of who they are giving personal information to,” Belt said. “I urge everyone to take precaution when receiving a text message or email saying it’s from IDOT.”

While the messages might look official, IDOT will not request personal information, such as Social Security numbers or bank information, via text or email.

To protect personal information, take the following precautions:

  • Delete unsolicited emails and texts requesting personal information or promising state driver’s licenses or IDs;
  • Do not click on any links contained in such emails or texts, as they may place malware on your computer or devices;
  • Hang up on any calls, including robocalls that ask you to take immediate action or provide personally identifiable information;
  • Ask to use other types of identifiers besides your Social Security number;
  • Keep software up to date, including operating systems and antivirus protection programs on your computer, phone and other device

“I have no respect for those who participate in fraudulent schemes,” Belt said. “IDOT will not ask for your personal information through text or email, and the department is working around the clock to keep you safe.”

Category: Press Releases

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EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) is proud to announce two local fire departments will receive funding through the Small Equipment Grant Program, administered by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal for equipment upgrades.

“This program gives eligible departments the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to afford,” Belt said. “Thanks to the small equipment grants, these fire departments will be able to provide better service to residents and families in our community.”

The Small Equipment Grant Program was established by the Office of the State Fire Marshal to provide grants of up to $26,000 to support small firefighting and ambulance equipment purchases. A total of $3.3 million was awarded to 149 fire departments and EMS providers across the state through the program.

Two grant recipients are located within the 57th Senate District:

  • French Village Fire Department - $20,282.28
  • East St. Louis Fire Department - $26,000

“Departments have had to make tough financial decisions, especially this year during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “The Small Equipment Grant Program helps reduce the burden on smaller departments/districts while replacing aging and sometimes failing small equipment.”

A complete list of recipients and awards can be found on the OSFM website.

Category: Press Releases

HB 3190

SPRINGFIELD – Businesses will be prohibited from burning toxic synthetic chemicals in Illinois thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that passed the General Assembly Friday.

“As we learn more about PFAS, it’s becoming clear that we need to reduce the risk they pose to people and the environment,” Belt said. “Our communities in the Metro East are at immediate risk of PFAS exposure. We must act now to eliminate these potentially harmful chemicals from the air we breathe.”

House Bill 3190 prohibits the disposal by incineration of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, otherwise known as PFAS. PFAS are a group of approximately 5,000 human-made chemicals that are manufactured for their oil- and water-resistant properties.

While research on the effects of PFAS exposure on human health is ongoing, current scientific studies have identified possible adverse health effects such as increased cholesterol levels, increased risk for thyroid disease, low infant birth weights, reduced response to vaccines, liver and kidney toxicity, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Under this measure, the Veolia Environmental Services waste incinerator in Sauget would be prohibited from incinerating firefighting foams, a product that often contains PFAS.

“PFAS exposure may cause a number of harmful—and even fatal—health problems,” Belt said. “Until we know for sure the effects these chemicals can have on our community, it’s critical that we move to protect vulnerable neighborhoods from potential dangers.”

House Bill 3190 passed the General Assembly and awaits the governor’s signature.

Category: Press Releases

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