Zephyr Government Strategies | Budget & Appropriations Lobbying

Illinois’s annual operating budget averages at a whopping $40 billion, and with the Land of Lincoln continuing to struggle each year with its structural deficit, its bills, and its obligations, state budgeting is always a chaotic – yet vitally important – process. Outside the attention and political intrigue of the legislative process, the less glamorous budgeting process can decide the fate of laws, reforms, or entire programs. You may succeed in pushing your interests through the legislature in Springfield only to find your efforts quashed and your interests ignored by a budgeting process that does not fully fund your initiatives. Zephyr Government Strategies understands that the state budgeting process should be a priority for your organization, and we can aid you in every step of the process, helping you navigate the government maze with confidence. 

Our Budget Expertise

Zephyr Government Strategies has a successful track record of obtaining tens of millions of dollars in funding for our clients from the appropriations process. This includes State tax credits, capital projects for transit agencies and municipal clients, and critical workforce development funding for business expansion.

 How Zephyr Government Strategies Can Help Your Business

Whether you need to advocate for a certain program, protect a certain line item, or insert a last-minute request, Zephyr’s expertise will help you excel and give you a foot in the door of one of the most important and quixotic aspects of doing business effectively in Illinois. Our deep and nuanced understanding of the entire process will ensure you are never lost in the confusion. As the bureaucratic whirlwind overwhelms others, we will be well equipped to help steer Springfield in a beneficial direction for your organization. Additionally, our expansive and close relationships with all the most important stakeholders of the budgeting process will ensure that all the right people are lobbied to maximize your impact on the budgeting process. Whatever your organization wants to get out of the budgeting process, we are well-experienced and well-equipped to rise to the challenge.

Just like most businesses in Springfield, it is not rare to find that some of the most consequential decisions are made behind closed doors and outside the scrutiny of the public. Your organization does not want to be left out of any part of the decision-making process, and Zephyr’s relentlessness and our well-known long list of connections will ensure that you are represented every step of the way. Nobody wants to be left out, and we are your advocate in the room where critical last-minute decisions are made. Please get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help secure the funding you need from Springfield.


What is Illinois budget process?

▪ The Illinois budget process is the complex process in which the State of Illinois decides what to spend its over $40 billion operating budget on. The Illinois budget process can decide the fate of entire programs and drastically change the fundamentals of any industry in Illinois, so staying on top of the budgeting process – and influencing it to make your concerns heard – is absolutely paramount for your organization. 

Who has Zephyr worked with in the Illinois budget process?

▪ Zephyr has worked with its vast array of clients across different levels of the state government and across different industries to help them win in the budget chaos. In one example of our budgetary expertise delivering for our clients, we helped a client in the aviation industry secure a grant of over $5 million, which led to the creation of hundreds of jobs and secured their continued investment and growth in Illinois. In order to secure both an initial round of funding for this client and to successfully fight for a second round of funding, we helped identify relevant legislative champions, prepared political leaders with relevant facts to understand our clients’ needs and worked to ensure that all necessary stakeholders understood the importance of this project.

Michael Cassidy Founder and Principal

Before launching Zephyr, Michael spent more than a decade as Senior Vice President for State Government Affairs at McGuireWoods Consulting, where he counseled a diverse roster of clients, helping them define and achieve a wide range of objectives at all levels of government. In addition to his state government affairs work, Michael led the firm’s national multi-state practice, helping clients in statehouses across the country. Whether developing and executing a stakeholder engagement strategy, finding and managing teams of contract lobbyists or managing new market entry, Michael has an extensive network across the country that can help clients reach their goals.

Michael began his career as a senior legislative staffer for former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, where he gained an appreciation for legislative dynamics, including balancing the interests of various constituencies, driving momentum by forming creative coalitions, and effectively leveraging media attention to build critical support for the caucus and its initiatives.

“We realize that dealing with government at all levels can be scary, but so is being trapped in the old school status quo. Zephyr helps our clients navigate the government maze with confidence by finding the right exit ramp and by promoting mutual wins. While valuable outcomes don’t often come easily, we believe that clear thinking and hard work is the shortest distance between two points.“

Jeremy Duffee Executive Vice President

Prior to joining Zephyr, Jeremy spent nearly half a decade working for McGuireWoods Consulting where he managed the office’s legislative tracking platform and provided analysis of all pending legislation and regulation at the statehouse and Chicago City Council. In addition, Jeremy assisted with the office’s business development initiatives through the drafting of proposals and client contracts.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods Consulting, Jeremy worked as an account executive at Resolute Consulting, an independent national public affairs and strategic communications firm. In that role, he assisted with the formulation of communications and outreach strategies for Resolute clients in the healthcare, energy, financial services, and real estate sectors. He also worked closely with the firm’s partners and other senior leadership on business development and marketing initiatives.

In addition to his experience at Resolute, Jeremy worked as field organizer on a Chicago aldermanic race.

Zephyr Recognition

April 14, 2021


June 8, 2019

Teamwork can make things happen

September 28, 2011

Good lobbyists have to be in the Capitol every day