Until yesterday, we had been hearing cuts of 20% or more for community services.
The truth is we will find out the hard facts next Wednesday at the Governor’s Budget
Address in the Capitol.
Talking to folks at the Dept. of Human Services, I expect some type of budget
briefing to follow but nothing is confirmed at this time.
One thing for sure, we are going to have a battle on our hands to fight off possible
cuts to vital disability services.
Several Illinois programs face funding shortfalls
FEBRUARY 11, 2015
Several programs in Illinois are preparing for million dollar budget shortfalls, including
programs that handle mental health and developmental disability.
Krieder Services in Dixon serves 450 people.
“We provide early intervention, autism, day program and residential services to
people with disabilities,” said Executive Director Jeff Stauter.
95% of their budget comes from the State of Illinois.
“We have not had a lot of increases in funding in the last decade,” he said.
They’re now looking at a possible decrease. Stauter says budgets for developmental
disability, mental health, and early intervention are facing a combined $110 million
“The idea of budget cuts means people go without services, we’ll have to end programs,
we’ll have to turn people away at the door, we’ll have to downsize and that can be
devastating to people with disabilities,” said Stauter.
Other state programs are in similar situations. According to Sophia Ronis, Administrative
Assistant for the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, the Child Care
Assistance Program is out of money and has a $300 million shortage, the Department
of Corrections payments will start being missed in late March or early April, and money
for court reporters could run out in March.
“The Governor’s office was asking for state agencies to look at 10% cuts across their
budgets and find places to cut money and I think when you’re highly dependent on state
funding and you talk about cuts you get nervous,” said Stauter.
“We knew that we were going to have a shortage, but we didn’t know when it might take
effect. With the revenues coming into the state, I think it happened a little bit sooner than
what some folks thought, so we have to deal with that now and try to get things taken
care of,” said Representative Mike Smiddy.
Smiddy says a big reason why this is happening is because of the retiring of the income
tax that he says left about a $1.9 to $2 billion hole in the budget.
“We knew that there was going to be a challenge due to the fact of the income tax
expiring January 1st. I don’t believe when I was looking at things we saw some of the
major shortfalls that we would have,” said Smiddy.
Smiddy says he is waiting on Governor Rauner’s budget speech that is scheduled for
next week, but says there is discretionary spending the governor could use to help with
some of the funding.
“We kind of have to put our money where our mouth is to fund these programs as best
we can,” said Smiddy.
As those programs brace for potential cuts.
“The message we keep getting from Springfield is that there’s going to be shared pain,”