Child and youth advocates pay increasingly greater attention to the link between the well-being of children and the willingness of state and federal governments to invest in programs and services that promote the well-being of children, youth and their families. The level of investment, as well as the types of programs and services in which governments invest, have a tremendous impact on the well-being of children. Illinois has generally taken a more generous approach to investing in its children. Missouri has taken a more conservative approach. While it has a generous Children’s Health Insurance Program, it does not fully fund the K-12 school foundation formula, makes a minimal investment in pre-school, under-invests in subsidized child care for low income working families, and compares very poorly with other states in implementing policy that benefits children their parents. You can read more about this here.
Nationally, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities provides information and analysis of the federal budget and other tax & revenue issues. You can find information on a variety of concerns such as health care, housing, employment, poverty and the economy. First Focus provides detailed and dynamic information on the federal budget as it relates to children, and strategies for making children a priority on their Children’s Budget website.
Budget advocacy focuses not only on the annual budget decisions made by the General Assembly and the Governor, but on long-term structural adequacy of state revenues and the options that could assure long term adequacy. State level budget, tax and revenue issues are tracked and analyzed by the Missouri Budget Project. You can sign up for periodic information updates and action alerts on their website. Voices for Illinois Children serves a similar role in Illinois.
In both Missouri and Illinois the General Assembly passes a budget through a series of budget bills. These bills go through the same process as other bills that become laws. You can track them on the General Assembly’s website through the Joint Bill Tracking function. In Illinois you can find information on the Bills and Resolutions page.
If you are really into numbers, you can also find a wealth of Missouri budget information on the Office of Budget’s website. Go to the Illinois Office of Management and Budget for information about the Illinois budget.