I am trying to catch up after being out of the office for three days at our Annual Leadership
Conference. What a smashing success that was! I will send you a summary and links to the
keynote presentations later.
Secretary Saddler and Lilia Teninty at The Arc’s Leadership Conference!
The Senate Appropriations I & II will hold a subject matter hearing on the PUNS Waiting,
Tuesday, Feb 11th, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Schaumburg Township Office 1 Illinois Blvd.,
Hoffman Estates, IL. I have been invited by Senator Kotowski to provide testimony.
The Governor’s Budget Address has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 26th at
noon. The Budget Address happens to be the same day as our Going Home Day at the
Capitol in the Rotunda! This will give us an excellent opportunity to reinforce our message
that, “Everyone can live a full life in the community.” Make your plans to attend our rally in
The Senate DHS Appropriation Hearing will be Friday, April 11th, at a time and place to be
Interesting story on possible human services budget cuts from Crain’s Chicago Business.
Illinois Partners Executive Director Judith Gethner is quoted. You will want to review the
three-year budget projection for fiscal 2015-17 at the end of the story.
Human services facing state budget ax again
By Greg Hinz
A coalition that represents hundreds of Illinois social service agencies says it’s once again
under attack in preliminary budget plans issued by Gov. Pat Quinn a couple of week ago,
and the numbers appear to back up its argument.
But just because Illinois Partners for Human Services appears to be right, it doesn’t mean
groups that run after-school programs and shelters for battered women, addiction-recovery
services, mental-health programs and the like are going to get any quick and easy help
The numbers come from Mr. Quinn’s three-year budget projection for fiscal 2015-17. Take
a look at the document at the end of this post.
Data from this year and last are included, providing a five-year snapshot of what’s
happened and is likely to happen to state spending. The figures assume that most of the
current “temporary” income tax hike will expire on Jan. 1, as is now scheduled unless
lawmakers act to the contrary.
What upsets Illinois Partners for Human Services is what the budget projects will happen to
its funding, compared with other needs.
Over that 2015-17 period, human services spending would drop, then go up just a bit, leaving that line item in 2017 at just $10 million higher than fiscal 2013’s $5.132 billion. And
that’s after human services took a half-billion-dollar budget hit this year.
Compare that with spending on education programs, including pensions, which would rise
9 percent; health care, 10 percent; and public safety, 28 percent.
“We have real concern,” says Illinois Partners Executive Director Judith Gethner. “We
wonder what the priorities are of this administration.” Already, dozens of agencies are
cutting services and/or staff, she said,continuing cuts that began several years ago.
Mr. Quinn’s budget projection is “stark,” adds agency spokesman Michael McGrath. While
Mr. Quinn recently plugged early childhood education, “at-risk children also depend on
safe housing and adequate nutrition. They depend on parents who rely on job training
services, or domestic violence protection services. . . .They may share their home with a
grandparent or a disabled sibling who depends on community care.”
A spokesman for Mr. Quinn declined to comment. But it’s no secret he is likely to call for
undoing the pending income tax cut in some form, because it would cost the state $2 billion
in revenue just in fiscal 2015. Nor is it a secret that having a bunch of sick, old and disabled
folks giving TV interviews might make it a little easier for the governor to get lawmakers to
extend the tax.
Ms. Gethner said she’s hoping for help from House Human Services Committee Chairman
Greg Harris. But Mr. Harris, a Chicago Democrat, didn’t sound terribly optimistic when I
spoke with him this morning.
“It’s going to be a real nail-biter of a year,” as anyone who depends on state funds waits
to see how much will be available. The human services folks indeed have been whacked,
Mr. Harris said, but the state faces certain “unavoidable . . . top-line” demands that will
have to be paid first, with pensions, Medicaid and group health insurance for state
employees alone requiring hundreds of millions in additional funds.
Springfield Republicans are likely to have their own idea of what ought and ought not to
be a priority. Meanwhile, Mr. Harris is right. For the human services folks, this indeed
does look like a nail-biter of a year.
Mr. Quinn’s actual proposed 2015 budget won’t be released until late March.