The Responsible Budget Coalition, comprised of 200 Illinois child and family advocacy organizations, is speaking out against the Rauner administration's termination of funding on Friday for 22 human services programs. Late in the day on Friday, Rauner suspended some $26 million in grant funds to social services and public health care providers.
"Included are services for persons with autism and those with epilepsy, the developmentally disabled, the mentally ill and people experiencing homelessness, and also addiction prevention and after school services for teens and services for immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens," reads a news release from the coalition, referring to the services impacted by the budget cuts. "In addition, the Department of Public Health eliminated six such programs. No advance notice was given."
In a statement to the media, the coalition adds:
In February, Governor Rauner had proposed to eliminate all funding for these services starting July 1, giving the General Assembly time to decide whether to accept his proposals or find the additional revenue needed to avoid such drastic cuts. However, the Governor has now chosen to unilaterally terminate state services throughout our communities, forcing service providers to close their doors.
The Responsible Budget Coalition, a coalition of 200 organizations working to preserve vital services for Illinois families and communities, condemns the elimination of state funding for these programs. Not only are these services of vital importance to the people served and their families, in many instances they save taxpayers money by avoiding greater costs in the future. For example, Governor Rauner also has proposed slashing funding for the Early Intervention program for children ages 0-3 with developmental delays. Children who lose these services are significantly more likely to need much costlier special education services later.
"These services have strong track records of success addressing acknowledged problems in Illinois. No principle of good or smart government is served by arbitrary surprises like this," said Responsible Budget Coalition member John Bouman, president of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. "Funding for these vital services and investments should be restored. The Governor's rash actions underscore the need for our leaders to address Illinois' revenue crisis - before even more people across our state see doors closing."