As of today, it appears likely that the Illinois General Assembly will pass a six-month spending plan that does not include any new revenue. Legislators are beginning to understand that Illinoisans are tired of the budget standoff that is increasingly damaging the social safety net and public services needed to maintain a healthy, vibrant state.
We welcome any legislation that will provide relief to children, their families and individuals. However, temporary spending measures are woefully inadequate, especially after a full year without a state budget. A recent report from United Way of Illinois shows accelerating damage to the social service sector, causing harm to vulnerable children and adults. The Illinois Atlas of Austerity graphically and powerfully details the impact of the budget impasse across a wide range of programs in Illinois.
Locally, we have seen funding for child care assistance decrease. Some providers are reluctant to enroll children who do receive child care assistance since the state’s delays in payment can last for months. Providers simply cannot continue to absorb the risks and increased costs due to late payments.
Since the Village of Oak Park’s health department has suffered cuts in grants, for the past year residents with medically vulnerable and at-risk infants have not had access to the nurse who handled their family case management. In addition, the state’s distribution of sales and taxes to municipalities has decreased by more than half. Social service agencies have extended their lines of credit and taken on debt, increasing the costs of providing services due to the state’s inability to make good on its contracts.
Illinois can not afford another year without a full-year budget that includes adequate revenue for crucial programs and services.
Please contact your legislators to let them know that we expect them to come together to enact a state budget. The consequences of inaction – ours and theirs – are simply too great to ignore.
It is crucial that they hear from you now.