I am sadden to report to you that Director Kevin Casey has resigned to take a
leadership position in New Jersey. Kevin is a great friend of individuals with disabilities,
families and The Arc. During his term of office he directed the closure of the
Jacksonville Developmental Center, one of the most successful closures in the nation,
navigated the implementation of the Ligas Consent Decree and aggressively moved
our system to a person centered culture. He certainly is one of the best Directors
Illinois has ever seen. It is unknown who will be Acting Director after Kevin leaves on
March 13th. Well done good friend.
A flurry of pro-institutional bills were introduced last week. One is calling for the
reopening of the Jacksonville Developmental Center! Illinois has over 1,750 individuals
with intellectual and other developmental disabilities segregated in seven obsolete state
institutions. The thought of reopening one is unthinkable with costs at some state
institutions exceeding $250,000 per person, per year. Compare that to the average
cost of a small community group home at about $55,000, where people are more
satisfied, safer and healthier. This is certainly going to be an interesting legislative
session to say the least!
There appears to be no sign of agreement on a budget for the remainder of the fiscal
year. Speaker Madigan is now talking about going into overtime this session because
of the lack of agreement on the state budget priorities. The Division of Developmental
Disabilities budget is estimated to be about $70 million short. See story below from the
Shortterm budget fix on hold
Rauner contends that spending deal is imminentÍ¾ top
Democrats say otherwise
By Kim Geiger Tribune reporter
More than a week after Gov. Bruce Rauner declared he was “literally days away” from
a solution to the $1.6 billion shortfall in this year’s budget, the governor insisted Friday
that he and Democrats are “very close” to a deal.
“We’ll get it done,” Rauner said after delivering a speech to business leaders in Chicago.
“The critical thing … is that we don’t raise taxes because of this and that we don’t do
borrowing because of this, we just reallocate.”
By that, Rauner means he wants to take money from some programs to pay for others
on the verge of going broke. But doing so requires cooperation from Democrats, some
of whom say the Republican governor hasn’t done enough to persuade them to get
behind his plan.
A key sticking point is what Democrats describe as a lack of specifics.
“We still need more information,” said Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate
President John Cullerton, D Chicago. “There certainly have been conversations, but
we’re still trying to mine out relevant information.”
Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, said the governor has
yet to offer up legislation to spell out which programs he plans to raid or cut to solve the
“I think the easiest thing to do is for the governor to be specific,” Brown said. “We
haven’t seen a full bill.”
Rauner insisted all week that negotiations were progressing and a deal was “close.”
It’s a familiar refrain from the rookie governor, who as a candidate had a habit of
batting back reporters’ questions about when he would offer specific proposals with
promises of answers “soon” and “in due time.”
Timing for the deal was better before last week’s budget address, when Rauner laid
out his agenda for sweeping cuts to programs favored by Democrats, Phelon said.
It was during that speech that Rauner said a deal on the current budget crisis was
imminent. Madigan agreed at the time.
Negotiations appear to have stalled.
“Once (Democrats) got a picture of how he intends to manage and how he intends to
prioritize, that just made it harder for them to grant him a blank check or to grant him
expanded authority to do the same thing in this current year,” Phelon said.
A partial rollback of the temporary tax hike meant a projected drop of $4 billion in
revenue that could have helped cover the shortfall, which threatens to cut off payroll for
prison guards and court reporters, as well as funding for other programs.
Already, state funding for a popular subsidized day care program has run out. Without
more money, the options are to cut program spending, move money around between
programs, or borrow.
On Friday, Rauner suggested that Democrats were trying “to take advantage of the
cash flow crisis to try to force a tax hike.”
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423