Governor Rauner’s Budget Proposal Update II

As we reported, the Governor gave his budget address on Wednesday.  Below are some of the issues we have seen in reviewing the proposed budget .  The Governor’s address helped to highlight areas where he wants to see in order to support a possible Senate compromise bill.  The proposed budget includes cuts like previous years to programs and supports for individuals with disabilities as well as no additional funds for wage increases in order to stabilize the workforce.

Good News

  • DRS will expand pre-employment transitional services for students with disabilities.
  • Fiscal year 2017 funding allows DHS to continue to transition individuals to community settings from State Operated Mental Health Facilities and State Operated Developmental Centers.
  • The recommended fiscal year 2018 budget of $6.5 billion includes an increase of $151.3 million to fully fund child care at 185 percent Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and a $4 million increase to fully fund the Early Intervention Program.
  • The budget also includes $25.6 million to comply with the Ligas Consent Decrees for developmentally disabled community services including an additional 500 placements from the Prioritization of Urgency of Need Services (PUNS) database and 200 transitions from Intermediate Care Facilities to community placement.
  • The Tribune reported that the Governor proposed $120 million in savings through moving individuals into the community.  We are still working on better understanding what this means.  We would applaud the move to support more people transitioning to community living.  However, we advocate strongly for any savings from that transition be reinvested in the home and community based system in order to ensure a robust range of services and supports, housing and employment are available, to decrease in the waiting list for services and to see an improvement in direct support workers’ wages.

Bad News

  • The following programs among others were proposed to be zeroed out the Arc of Illinois Lifespan grant, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) and Best Buddies.
  • No wage increases were added to address the major concern that individuals with disabilities see significant staff vacancies and turnover of the workforce because of low wages.

The Arc along with partners will advocate strongly to the administration and the legislature for the return of funding to the programs that were proposed to be cut and for increased wages for DSPs.  More to come on how you can get involved!

Leaked Proposal from House Republicans Paint Picture of Possible Medicaid Proposal

A copy of the House Republican talking points on Repeal & Replace was leaked Thursday after it was shared with the caucus.  It looks like they will be considering a bill that would give governors a choice between block grants and per capita caps, with a financial carrot to choose per capita caps. There would be a two year delay before this is implemented.  The increased federal Medicaid match (FMAP) given to states that expanded Medicaid would be lowered and partially redistributed to non-expansion states so that a common Medicaid baseline of funding could be established.  The bill is currently at the Congressional Budget Office to be scored.  Repeal & replace must be deficit neutral so it is expected that Medicaid cuts would be proposed to offset spending increases.  The bill is expected to go through committees in early mark with a vote on the House floor in late March.

Action Alert:  Congress Prepares to Dismantle Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act

The House of Representatives is expected to introduce a bill to cut Medicaid and the ACA on February 27 and to begin committee work immediately. Congress will be on its Presidents’ Day recess next week.  We’ve got lots of ways to help you make this time count!  Below is our advocates’ “To Do” list for the week of Feb 19-25.

  1. Attend Town Hall Meetings. Check out this great new resource listing all scheduled town hall meetings across the country. If your Senator(s) or Representative has any scheduled next week, please attend and bring your staff, volunteers, friends, and family.
  2. Share our Latest Action Alert with Your Networks. Take Action to Prevent Gutting of The ACA and Medicaid includes separate fact sheets and talking points. Please share widely since Congress may vote on an ACA repeal measure as soon as the week after the President’s Day recess!
  3. Participate in our “#WeActWednesday” Social Media Campaign.  Check out the Arc Facebook and Twitter and share, like, and retweet on Wednesday!
  4. Share Peter Berns’ Huffington Post Article – Why You Should Care About Looming Medicaid Cuts – with your family, friends, and coworkers. This article published on February 14 breaks the issue down for the general public and advocates alike. Please share far and wide


Survey Request for Individuals with Disabilities and Their Families

We are pleased to share that our colleagues at The Arc of the United States in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota have launched the 2017 Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Survey which seeks to capture experiences of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families on a range of life-span issues.

Intended survey participants are people aged 18 years or older who provide primary paid/unpaid and frequent support to a person with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) living in the United States and its Territories. They hope to gather survey data which is reflective of the diversity of the United States and we are excited to assist them in this important project. To take the survey, visit

Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)