After Gov. Bruce Rauner suspended $26 million from the funding of 22 human services
departments in April, the Responsible Budget Coalition united to spread public awareness
about the impact of Rauner’s decision and fight for revenue to invest human services.
According to a press release, the Responsible Budget Coalition is comprised of a group
of 200 organizations who are involved with families, children, veterans, people with
disabilities, education, labor union and religious and civic institutions.
Catherine Kelly, Rauner’s press secretary, said in an email that the purpose of the
reduction is to fix the $1.6 billion budget hole created by former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.
“Part of the solution to solving the inherited $1.6 billion budget hole without raising taxes
or increasing borrowing is to continue to evaluate the current fiscal year’s budget,” Kelly
Immigrant Integration Services is one of the 22 service departments being affected by the
suspension, said Breandan Magee, senior director of programs at the Illinois Coalition for
Immigrants and Refugee Rights. Immigrant Integration Services, which will lose $3.4
million due to the suspension, is responsible for funding 60 immigrant service agencies
that provide naturalization services and citizenship opportunities.
“The immigrant services in Illinois are in great jeopardy,” Magee said. “We are not
accepting the fact that immigrant services are considered nonessential by the governor
and we will continue to let the governor and the legislator know that immigrants and
refugees are essential in Illinois.”
Teen REACH, a state-wide after school program for children ages six to 17, will also be
affected by Rauner’s proposal, said Andrea Durbin, chief executive officer of the Illinois
Collaboration on Youth. Durbin said the program helps students with their homework,
engages them in physical activities, provides social support and offers a safe environment.
“It’s a really important way to help keep kids safe, give well income working parents (the
chance to keep) their kids safe, and then really help to improve the academic achievements
and the attendance at school,” Durbin said.
Durbin said the children who relied on the program have nowhere else to go after school.
After the funds were suspended, the program was shut down, Durbin said, and the
students are no longer receiving the benefits of the after-school program, while the staff in
charge of the program also lost their jobs.
“I’m very concerned about the safety of family and children as well the community across
the state of Illinois,” Durbin said. “And I’m very concerned with the social safety net that
David Lloyd, the director of the fiscal policy center at Voices for Illinois Children, said
these cuts will also restrict access to the Early Intervention Program, which serves infants
and toddlers with developmental delays.
Lloyd said Voices for Illinois Children works with children to help them grow. Without it,
these children will have to resort to special education services in public schools, which are
“So, in the short term the cuts might save money, but it will cost much more in the long
run because the state didn’t help kids early on,” Lloyd said.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423