Gov. Pritzker delivers State of the State and budget address

Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his State of the State and budget speech in the House chamber for the first time since 2020. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By IIS Radio

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker is unveiling a nearly $50 billion new state budget that makes a heavy investment in early childhood education.

One of the biggest components of the governor’s spending plan is called “Smart Start Illinois.” It focuses on the importance of pre-school, quality child care, early intervention and home visits.

“Enhancing quality early care and education is a win-win solution for remobilizing parents in the workforce, enhancing brain development and kindergarten readiness, saving taxpayers money and increasing economic activity,” said the governor during his State of the State and budget address Wednesday in Springfield.

Pritzker is also calling for more money for “k” through 12 education, college map grants and programs to ease worker shortages.

He’s proposing the “Illinois Grocery Initiative,” to help independent grocers open or expand in underserved areas.

WJBC News can be reached at


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…