Budget Cuts

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  • State Senator Mattie Hunter SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) criticized the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday for proposing cuts to programs and services that would disproportionately affect minority communities.

    The Senate Appropriations I Committee heard testimony Wednesday morning from Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget.

  • mcguire 030717 1714SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Pat McGuire today decried Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to stop funding for Advanced Placement, teacher certification and parent mentoring for K-12 students, programs important to Will County schools and communities.

    “Again this year, the governor’s proposed budget cuts funding to zero for effective programs,” McGuire said. “For example, Joliet Township High School District 204 recently won a national award for giving more students the opportunity to earn college credit in high school through AP courses. Yet Governor Rauner wants to eliminate state funding for AP teacher training and AP test discounts for needy students.”

    McGuire noted in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing today that the Illinois State Board of Education favors funding the very programs the governor wants to eliminate. In response to McGuire’s questions, an ISBE official said the programs build a stronger state.

    “Parents, students and teachers again this year need to speak up for the best opportunities available for students and the best training available for teachers,” McGuire said.

  • safeplaceIt has been nearly two years since Illinois had a full budget. As a result, many human service providers have been forced to cut back on services and lay off staff. One organization that has been impacted is A Safe Place, a domestic violence support center in Zion that serves more than 15,000 individuals each year. 

    Since it was founded in 1980, A Safe Place has grown into a $2.2 million agency with seven offices across Lake County. Services include emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis line, legal advocacy, permanent housing, case management, individual and group therapy, mentoring programs, supervised family visitation and custody exchanges, and more.

  • Peoria dv 032117PEORIA – A Peoria social service provider that helps victims of domestic abuse is one of the many groups affected by a cut of $9 million in state funding.

    The Center for Prevention of Abuse stands to lose $200,000 due to the cut. The organization was already owed over $400,000 by the state for previous programs the state never reimbursed them for.

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  • Senator Patricia Van PeltSPRINGFIELD – Even after cutting programs for AIDS, prostate cancer and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the Illinois Department of Public Health still would need to cut an additional $20 million in programs to help balance the governor’s proposed budget, state senators learned Tuesday.

    “I’m stunned Gov. Rauner didn’t consult with his own public health director about cuts to vital programs that would be needed to balance his own budget plan,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), chairwoman of the Senate’s Public Health Committee.

    “Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants. Those kinds of cuts in public health would have dire consequences, and people deserve to know what those cuts could be.”

    Members of the Public Health Committee heard from Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah, who identified $3.85 million in cuts – far less than the reductions needed to achieve the savings Gov. Rauner requires. Shah told the panel he could cut $3 million from the AIDS drug assistance program, $143,000 from a prostate cancer awareness fund, $470,000 from the University of Illinois-Chicago and $240,000 from the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome awareness program.

    The governor’s budget proposal includes $115 million for public health.

    “Gov. Rauner has been begging lawmakers to give him the authority to make line-item budget cuts. Clearly, he’s not up to the task,” Van Pelt said.

    Shah agreed to return to the committee next week with a list of $23 million in public health department cuts required to balance the governor’s proposed budget.

  • Senator Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD — In a Senate hearing with Acting Director Anna Hui of the Illinois Department of Labor, State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, asked what cuts could be made in the Department of Labor to close the $4.6 billion hole in Gov. Rauner’s out of balance budget proposal.

    “Being that the governor’s proposed budget was $4.6 billion out of whack and we’re now finding that that number might be more optimistic than it’s going to be, I would appreciate hearing from the department itself where you would be most willing to make those cuts,” Holmes said. “Where would you like to see those cuts if we are in a position where they have to be made?”

    “We are not in the position to speculate about where those cuts might come from,” Hui said, to which Holmes replied: “Okay. Let’s call that nonresponsive.”

    This week, Sen. Holmes and her fellow Democrats in the Senate have asked more than ten heads of state agencies what they would do should they be asked to cut their agencies’ budgets. In this year’s budget proposal, Gov. Rauner put forward a plan that spends $4.6 billion more than it collects in revenue. Rauner’s FY 18 budget proposal relies on the General Assembly to close this $4.6 billion gap by proposing new revenues or making cuts.

    “Gov. Rauner has been asking the General Assembly to give him the authority to make budget cuts for months. I would expect the governor’s agency heads to have some cuts already in mind,” Holmes said. “Clearly that is not the case.”

    Director Hui is one of at least ten other state agency directors who have appeared before the Illinois Senate this week. None have suggested ways to close the $4.6 billion gap.

  • aquino 021717SPRINGFIELD – In a recent Senate budget hearing, State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, questioned Illinois State Budget Director Scott Harry. Sen. Aquino focused his questions on the elimination of state funding for immigration programs.

    “Did he have any conversations with the Trump Administration or the president? There’s no funding for immigration services within the Department of Human Services,” Aquino said. “It seems to be maybe a coincidence - if they haven’t had conversations - that you’re eliminating or potentially eliminating immigrant and refugee services at this time, especially considering what’s going on nationally.”

    Responding to Aquino’s questions, Scott Harry said that he did not know whether Governor Rauner had spoken with the Trump Administration and that the reductions in funding for immigration programs “are the same reductions that were introduced in the governor’s fiscal year 2016 budget.”

    The governor’s budget proposal does not fund immigrant-focused programs that previous budgets have funded. The proposal would eliminate $5.9 million in funding for immigrant integration services as well as $1.5 million for welcoming centers.

    “We must fight against Trump's hateful, divisive immigration policy wherever it exists,” Aquino said.

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  • so il hi ed hearingCARTERVILLE- Illinois higher education institutions are still running despite the absence of a higher education budget.

    John A. Logan Community College, like many state universities and community colleges, is absorbing costs up front to allow students to return to school this fall. However, this may force colleges and universities to cut vital services.

    Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) assembled the panel at John A. Logan to hear from community college representatives like Vice President for Business Services Brad McCormick, who is struggling to finance on-campus child care assistance and tutoring services for students.

  • dickson mounds closingSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), who represents Lewistown, home of Dickson Mounds Museum, issued the following statement about the museum’s closing. Gov. Rauner decided to close the museum to the public today, despite the fact that employees are still reporting to work.

    “Locking the public out of Dickson Mounds while all of the employees are still on the job makes it even more obvious that Gov. Rauner’s decision to close the state museums is based on politics, not sound public policy. Let’s be clear – the state isn’t seeing any cost savings, but businesses in Lewistown and surrounding communities are going to start seeing lost revenue.”

  • save the museumSPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding the Illinois state museums being closed to the public after Wednesday.

    “Let’s be clear: The museums aren’t really closing. Rather, Governor Rauner is locking out the public. The employees will still show up for work. The exhibits will remain in their places. The buildings will be heated and air conditioned. But, the governor is locking the doors and denying the public access to a tremendous asset and public resource.

    It’s a foolish, mean-spirited move. Locking the doors and shooing away school groups from a fully staffed museum complex doesn’t save any money.

    Governor Rauner’s short-sighted, uncaring decision won’t help the state economically, but will impede our cultural and educational growth.

    I urge the governor to leave the museum doors open and fight his budget battles at the negotiating table.”

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  • delgado childrens gradCHICAGO- After cuts proposed by the governor earlier this year threatened to shut down a majority of its operations The Children’s Place Association, a pre-K education facility, spent Thursday morning celebrating. State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) was in attendance as the facility and staff held a ceremony for their students’ graduation, as some of them will move up to Kindergarten.

    Children’s Place provides a wide variety of services to over 70 children a day. Most of whom come from low income families affected by debilitating diseases and disabilities including autism, HIV, heart ailments, epilepsy, spina bifida and hydrocephalus. For many of the children, this is the only early education facility they can attend due to their illness.

  • jones map fedEvery year, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission helps more than 125,000 students throughout Illinois advance their career dreams by helping them pay for college. The Monetary Award Program is designed to help eligible students who may not have enough money to pay for higher education go to a higher education institution, as long as they meet guidelines outlined by the grant. Without Governor Rauner’s approval, students statewide won’t be able to afford college tuition and other associated costs.

    State Senator Emil Jones III’s (D-Chicago) district houses Chicago State University and he believes Governor Rauner needs to make the appropriation of state funds to the grant program a priority.

    “Not every family has the means to send their child to school,” Jones said. “And there are many students who have the ability to go to college, receive a degree and be prepared to enter the workforce. We must ensure we give these students who are looking for a hand up and not a hand out an opportunity to reach their goals and contribute back to our communities. Funding this program is a no-brainer. If we want a vibrant economy, we need a workforce prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. Funding this program ensures economic vitality in the future.”

    Senator Jones also voted in favor of Senate Bill 2042, which allows $5.4 billion, mostly in federal “pass-through” funds, to be appropriated. Illinois receives these funds through the federal government, but aren’t able to spend them unless lawmakers give the state the authority to spend it.

    The federal pass-through will fund programs for mental health, disability services, meals for homebound seniors, job training and LIHEAP.

    Senator Jones offered the following comment:

    “Providing our most vulnerable citizens with the resources they need to have quality living conditions is one of the greatest purposes of government,” Jones said. “We put programs in place to help people who are in the most need. Providing spend authority for federal money is responsible and by doing so, we put people before political agendas.”

  • manar museums 8 7 15SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday to require the Illinois State Museum system to stay open despite the ongoing budget impasse.

    State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal to keep the Illinois State Museum open along with its branch sites: Dickson Mounds, Lockport Gallery, Southern Illinois Artisans Shop and Southern Illinois Art Gallery at Rend Lake and the Illinois Artisans Shop and Chicago Gallery.

    “The Illinois State Museum brings the outside world to Illinois students, families and scientists. There are very real financial and social costs to closing the museum,” Manar said.

    The proposal, Senate Bill 317, requires the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to keep the museums open by law.

    “The strong outpouring of public support for the museum has been the main motivator behind this legislation. People across the state care deeply about this museum and the opportunities and services it provides,” Manar said.

    The Senate approved the legislation Tuesday and now moves to the House for debate.