Nearly $5 billion in federal funds would flow to Illinois social service programs under a measure approved unanimously in the state Senate Tuesday to authorize the spending.
The majority of the $4.8 billion would go toward programs funded entirely by the federal government. The funding cannot currently be transferred to the programs, including one that provides financial assistance to low-income Illinoisans for their utilities, while there is no state budget in place.
Illinois has been without a budget since July 1. As a result of the ongoing budget impasse in Springfield, social service agencies have had to cut staff and programming. In some cases, agencies have had to shut down.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is at odds with Democrats over a larger state spending plan, backs the federal funds proposal, which still needs House approval.
Meanwhile, AFSCME Council 31 said 94 state workers recieved layoff notices Tuesday from the Rauner administration. The 94 workers are employed in the state's natural resources and commerce and economic opportunity departments as well as the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
The majority of those pending layoffs, effective September 30, are connected to Rauner's plan to close Illinois State Museum locations as a result of there being no state budget.
"Most of these layoffs stem from Gov. Rauner's rush to shutter the Illinois State Museum sites, destroying a vital resource for learning and the preservation of cultural heritage and putting professional museum curators, librarians and support staff in the unemployment lines," AFSCME Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch said in a statement. "Other layoffs would throw out of work men and women involved with nuclear safety, tourism, recycling and overseeing public utilities. Instead of holding hostage the public services Illinois residents rely on and eliminating jobs of public service workers who provide them, the governor should drop his extreme political agenda that would hurt the middle class and work with legislators to pass a budget that prevents these cuts."