I have been telling you for quite sometime that additional cuts were coming and from what I
have heard in the committee hearings this could be the last cuts for this fiscal year.
We still need you to call your House members to support Senate Bill 274 which will restore
the cuts to disability grants such as The Autism Program, Illinois Life Span, Respite Care
and other grants. The House passage is uncertain because House members believe the
money is already there and the cuts to the disability grant programs were not necessary.
Please make your calls.
Story on this from today’s Chicago Tribune.
Rauner to cut $106M to Medicaid
Human services, higher education to also see trims
By Monique Garcia Chicago Tribune
SPRINGFIELD — A month ago, new Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers
agreed to $300 million in cuts as part of a plan to fix a budget passed last year that didn’t
have enough money to cover 12 months of spending.
On Thursday, a few details of what those cuts are started to emerge at the Capitol, though
the Rauner administration declined to provide a full list of what’s been chopped.
The administration will make roughly $106 million in cuts to the Medicaid health care
program for the poor, much of which takes the form of a 16.75 percent reduction to
reimbursement payments to doctors and pharmacies.
An additional $1.1 million would be slashed from human service programs including
domestic violence shelters, services for homeless youths and the sickle cell clinic at the
University of Illinois.
College scholarship grants for low-income students also would be cut, as would funding
for community colleges.
Lawmakers briefed by Rauner budget director Tim Nuding said he had indicated that
scholarships would be trimmed by about $6 million and colleges would lose about $8
Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said the cuts are “consistent” with agreements made
during weeks of budget negotiations between lawmakers and Rauner’s office to fix a
budget that the new governor inherited from his Democratic predecessor, Pat Quinn.
That’s a far cry from accusations lawmakers lobbed earlier in the week that Rauner
wasn’t upfront about an additional $26 million in cuts he made on top of the reductions
lawmakers already signed off on. Those cuts, made on the Easter holiday weekend,
targeted services for those with autism and epilepsy, as well as funding for the state’s
tobacco quitline and burial services for the poor.
“It doesn’t appear we were caught by surprise here; it was something we had agreed
upon,” said Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge.
Earlier this week, the Senate passed legislation that would allow Rauner to
sweep $26 million from special funds to offset those cuts, but the measure
does not have support in the House.
As part of the short-term budget deal approved last month, lawmakers already have
given Rauner power to tap into $1.3 billion in special funds as he grapples with what
his office says is a $1.6 billion budget hole.
Solving that shortfall has occupied much of the spring legislative session, and budget
talks are only expected to grow more contentious as lawmakers begin to turn their
attention to crafting a spending plan for the new budget year that starts July 1.
Rauner is pushing for billions in cuts, while Democrats say the problem will require both
reductions and a tax increase — an approach Rauner is open to, but only if they go
along with his plans to curb union powers and cut workers’ compensation costs for
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