Make Noise. Share the Impact.
With little progress made on the Illinois state budget, low-income job seekers and working families in Illinois will be hardest hit. Until our leaders choose new revenue, this crisis will continue.
On Wednesday, June 24th Governor Rauner signed the k-12 education funding bills into law. The following day however, the Governor vetoed the rest of the budget bills that were sent to him including all the bills that fund human services. The Governor maintains that he will not pass a budget that is out of balance. The budget proposal that the General Assembly sent to Rauner spends approximately $4 billion more that Illinois has, but avoids more cuts to services. Illinois has been cutting away at heath care and humans services programs for years and there is not much left to cut without eliminating essential services for Illinois residents. July 1st came and went, and we have now officially begun the new fiscal year with no budget. This will create chaos for anyone who uses or relies on state services or programs, and the casualties of this budget showdown will be the most vulnerable residents of Illinois.
State agencies have issued contracts to some service providers, but many others have not received anything. There are a few bright spots. Some programs rely on federal funding instead of the Illinois General Revenue Fund, and will receive full funding retroactively once state spending authority is restored by a new budget. Other programs have been deemed necessary by a court order, and will also be funded retroactively. However, without a state budget passed by both houses and signed by the governor, bills cannot be paid even if a program is guaranteed. Agencies that provide critical services to the people of Illinois cannot wait forever to be assured they will be funded.
The House and Senate have moved to pass a one month budget for essential services while deliberations on the entire state budget continue into the summer. But without a single Republican vote, the temporary agreement failed in the House. The Senate did pass a bill to fund some essential state services for one month, but so far the Governor has shown no sign that he is willing to stop the government shutdown with a temporary solution. The House will reconvene on July 8th to attempt again to pass a one month budget. Until our political leaders come together and find new revenue for Illinois this budget crisis will not end.
Service providers and citizens should be outraged. Providers need to be vocal about the devastating impact this crisis has on their organizations. If your agencies are closing their doors, eliminating services, or laying off staff, please don’t remain silent about the crisis. Share the impact of this budget fiasco in the papers, on social media, and in your communities. Call the Governor’s office, your local legislators, and leaders in the General Assembly and be specific about the damage that this impasse is creating in our state. Tell them that this government shutdown caused by a budget showdown must come to an end.