Press Conference Highlights Negative Impact of Lack of Funding for Critical State Services
(August 4, 2015)
As the butter chills to form the State Fair butter cow, service providers and organizations across the state are melting from the heat of the state budget gridlock. This is a message heard loud and clear at a press conference this morning where more than a dozen organizations joined Illinois State Senator Heather Steans to speak about the impact the lack of funding has on the State of Illinois.
That’s because 82% of the Illinois state government budget has been funded either through court orders, continuing appropriations or signed into law. Yet, the remaining 18% of the budget that hasn’t been funded is crippling critical state services that have enormous statewide impact every single day of the year.
This includes public health programs that save money in the Medicaid budget, youth service programs and human service programs that save money in Corrections and Juvenile Justice, and childcare funding that allows parents to contribute to the state’s revenue estimates.
State Senator Steans addresses the media at the press conference today calling attention to the negative impact of lack of funding for critical state services.
Several organizations in the final 18% of state government that currently is not funded came together to encourage the finalization of the remaining budget. Critical services in jeopardy range from autism, epilepsy, sexual assault, housing, domestic violence, programs for at-risk youths, senior services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, public health programs, tobacco cessation hotline, higher education and state museums. The devastating impact of the lack of a budget for these programs falls on the most vulnerable population and will affect public-private partnerships in the long term with the State of Illinois.
Recently, news broke that the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair will receive funding even though they are also in the 18% of the state budget that currently has no appropriation in place. The economic benefits of the state fairs are not being debated. The fairs and agriculture drive the Illinois economy and investments have been made in the form of contracts to performers and vendors. If those contracts are not honored, then the state loses credibility and would severely impact future fairs.
The same logic applies to the entire 18% of the budget unappropriated funds. The reason for the existence for these public-private partnerships is to work towards an Illinois that can prosper and be fiscally responsible. Illinois has spent years investing into the social service infrastructure because of the intrinsic value that network brings to the priorities of the state. The budget impasse is crumbling the infrastructure that the state relies on because regardless of ideology, the programs provide for the public good. These programs cannot open and close without long-term impacts on the statewide infrastructure to provide services to all Illinoisans.
Public-private partnerships cannot work if there is no trust in a public contract to be upheld and honored. The budget impasse and state’s priorities seem to be misguided and short-term because if the impasse continues, Illinois will lose many valuable partners and there will be no solutions to some of the largest problems facing the state.
The organizations in attendance include:
American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
Children’s Home & Aid Society of Illinois
Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Epilepsy Foundation North Central Illinois
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Illinois Coalition for Community Services
Illinois Collaboration on Youth
Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living
Illinois Partners for Human Service
Illinois Public Health Association
Illinois State Museum
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Supportive Housing Providers Association
The Autism Program of Illinois