OPenSignELGIN – The last round of Back to Business grants have been awarded, and State Senator Cristina Castro is pleased to see this small business assistance coming to Cook and Kane counties.

“Our businesses have shown such resiliency throughout this pandemic,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “The Back to Business grant program was vital for keeping the doors of restaurants and local shops open through the tough two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

More than $2.5 million was awarded to dozens of businesses in the district Castro represents. The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

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033122CM0370CHICAGO – As Illinois continues to improve state finances, working families can expect to see more money in their pocket, thanks to support from State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and tax relief plan, which were signed into law Tuesday.

“Illinois taxpayers have been fed up with our state’s poor credit rating and financial stress for years,” Castro said. “Now, our state’s credit ratings are continuously improving and important social services are given the boost they need to provide for all Illinoisans.”

The FY 23 budget builds upon the responsible spending decisions over the last few years—allowing Illinois to make a $500 investment into the pension system and set aside $1 billion to the state’s Rainy Day Fund to support the state through economic challenges.

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040522CM0421SPRINGFIELD - To ensure that Direct Support Personnel are fairly compensated for the assistance they provide to individuals with developmental disabilities, State Senators Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) sponsored legislation to make sure certain funding is passed firstly to the employees who care for the state’s most vulnerable residents.

“Stagnant wages for DSPs have led to high employee turnover, which at the end of the day, hurts individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Castro said. “Making sure employees at facilities that help the people that need it most get the proper compensation is essential.”

DSPs are vital in community residential settings, where they help residents with daily personal care like eating and hygiene as well as teaching life skills and attending to complex medical needs. While funding for these services has increased over recent years, starting wages remain barely above minimum wage, and vacancies remain high. This disparity is because the state does not always require community agencies to pass wage increases through to the workers.

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040122HAO00422SPRINGFIELD – As the cannabis industry continues to grow in Illinois, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) has championed a measure to ensure prospective employees at dispensary or cultivation centers have an equitable application process.

“The cannabis industry has provided a boost to the Illinois economy,” Castro said. “Streamlining the process for people to get involved in this business will ensure a more equitable, diverse workforce and bring multiple cannabis laws on the books in line with each other.”

Currently, individuals who wish to work for a cannabis dispensary or cultivation center are subject to two different application processes – one for medical and one for adult-use. However, practically speaking most medical dispensaries also serve adult use cannabis.  House Bill 2380 streamlines the process for prospective dispensary and cultivation center employees to receive their identification cards by consolidating the application process.

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Contact Info

District Office:
The Professional Building
164 Division Street, Suite #102
Elgin, IL 60120
847-214-8864 phone
847-214-8867 facsimile

Springfield Office:
121-C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
217-782-7746 phone


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