* First, the Department of Human Services was ordered to cut childcare services in this fiscal year by $100 million. Then, DHS pulled back after a ferocious public response. Then, DHS ordered $208 million in immediate cuts to programs like substance abuse. And, now, DHS has pulled back again, reducing that target to $100 million, apparently on orders from the governor...
If there was any good news coming out of the hearing today, it was that the human services budget needed only to find $100 million in savings for the current year — a number down from the $208 million previously assumed; Saddler said aides to Gov. Pat Quinn gave her the new number only this morning in fact.
But the Quinn administration’s budgeting maneuvers were blasted by some of the General Assembly members who attending today’s hearing; there is deep frustration with the shifting reductions target, repeatedly leaning on human services for cuts and savings, and spending priorities.
State Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago) was among the most vocal. Delgado accused the governor’s office of failing to share information, describing talk of $100 million in reductions as “another movement to keep everybody pacified.”
He called the governor a “ferocious bear” and posed stark questions about whether cuts in addiction services and other programs would result in a larger prison population; the Department of Corrections (DOC) is getting more money, he said today.
The trouble is, it’s not clear what will be cut. So, we’re going to do this all over again. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on this fiscal year. Every cut they make is magnified because there are so few days left.
Facing a torrent of protest, Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday cut in half plans to impose more than $200 million in drastic reductions next month on the Department of Human Services, including a cutoff of state funding for drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs that threatened to shutter several providers of addiction services.
Quinn’s budget office and the human services officials recently informed social service providers of planned cuts totaling $208 million. But on Thursday, the size of the cuts was reduced to about $100 million. Quinn said he had concerns about the fairness of how programs were targeted for cutbacks, including drug and alcohol treatment for individuals who did not qualify under federally reimbursed Medicaid coverage for the poor.
“I don’t want to have such a severe situation that it causes great harm, so part of my job in balancing (the social service needs) is to step in,” the governor told reporters after speaking to the City Club of Chicago. “My ultimate responsibility is to find the right balance and sometimes to step in and say, ‘OK, this is enough and that will be the way it goes.’ ”
- Posted by Rich Miller
- Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Feb 24, 11 @ 4:44 pm:
Wait until the full House and Senate start debating budgets and offer amendments…Hang on tight campers, we’re goin’ for a real ride!
- Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Feb 24, 11 @ 4:51 pm:
Is anyone surprised by this passive-aggressive approach?
This guy changes direction more often than my weather vane, and he has no intestinal fortitude to make a decision and stand behind it on anything controversial. He is easily manipulated off of his position, and I sometimes wonder if he is answering to the voices in his head as much as responding to outside influences.
We need to recognize that cutting these services has costs. Typically it is more hardship on family and friends, but the lack of mental health services can impact anyone. Yesterday a policeman was shot by a panhandler who was described as mentally ill by his family. The shooting in Arizona was by a young man with serious mental health issues.
I don’t think if we have good mental health services all of our problems will be solved and we won’t see random violence. But not giving proper treatment to mentally ill people increases the risks of problems.
The Governor’s office is not listening (or bothering to talk to) any of the actual program people in DHS. If you ask them nobody bothered to talk to them until AFTER the budget was proposed. Only now are the people who actually run programs being talked to. The Administration is moving programs without any consideration as to where they’re going and actually creating more administrative burden and cost.
And why are they not having all the departments sit down and determine where services are being duplicated. How many departments work on mental health? Children and family services? Workforce development? If they would consolidate these programs under a single department you would make the system a bit more efficient and cost effective. But I don’t think these department heads actually talk to one another.
I still hope they take up Rahm Emanuel’s discussion of reforming the sales tax. Broadening the base, lowering the rates, and getting out of the way is usually a great move for tax reform. And this particular reform would have the added benefit of broadening the base from the lower income people on whom Illinois sales tax disproportionately falls to upper income people who consume more of the kinds of things that aren’t currently taxed. And what’s more, it’s relevant to this budget debate because as things stand, people are consuming less and less in the way of locally bought goods and if the revenue from sales tax is to keep up with the state’s needs, the tax itself has to keep up with the state’s consumption patterns.
- Retired Non-Union Guy - Thursday, Feb 24, 11 @ 6:15 pm:
Seriously wrote: “why are they not having all the departments sit down and determine where services are being duplicated”
Sadly, it is still all about the director’s protecting their own fiefdom’s. Until a forceful Governor sits them all down at the same table and tells them NO ONE gets any money unless they do a “eliminating duplication” exercise, it won’t happen …which means it won’t happen under Quinn.
So, does this mean that the governor has “found” new billions, thus reducing the need for cuts. Or will he be cutting elsewhere.
This feels a lot like previous budget battles under Quinn/Vaught. We have to make these terrible cuts and terrible things will happen. Wait, we found some money. We don’t have to make as many cuts. Oh wait, we don’t have to make any cuts….we’ll borrow the money. Yeah, that’s it….add a few hundred million onto that $8.7 billion borrowing bill. Nobody will notice…
This is why we needed Governor Brady. Didn’t get it….almost 4 more years of this stuff.
- Kasich Walker, Jr.'s Political Strategist - Thursday, Feb 24, 11 @ 9:35 pm:
I’d like to hear Quinn and a few dozen sane governors — assuming he can find them — call out Obama on the cuts in fed funding for social programs at the state level imposed by runaway military spending and corporate bail outs.
- Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Feb 24, 11 @ 10:20 pm:
This goes back to the way the GA crafted the budget. Instead of the various committees holding hearings on agencies, finding out what they needed, establishing priorities, etc, they approved a package at the last minute that pushed all the cuts over to the governor with no guidance. Since then, Gov. Quinn has proposed cuts, the legislators complain, the Gov. backs off (repeat as necessary). The only guidance he gets from the GA is when he tries to make a cut.
A dictatorial governor would be fine with this, but that’s not what we have. I suspect the GA would never have given that kind of power to a dictatorial-type governor. They were willing to give the latitude to Quinn because they knew that if he made a cut they didn’t like, they could squawk, and he would move to another target. He will keep changing targets until he doesn’t get too much heat or the budget year ends. It would be much better for all of us (except, perhaps, the members of the GA) if the GA would go through the process, set priorities, and build a real budget.
We can complain that the Gov. is wishy-washy, but the GA is just as guilty for giving him the authority to cut wherever and then complaining loudly every time he uses it.
Look up dysfunctional in a dictionary and you see a picture of the Governor- Illinois needs strong direct leadership if we are to have any hope of pulling out of this tailspin- As unfortunate as it might be, Madigan must step up and displace the Governor sooner then later- Whether you agree or disagree with what Cuomo, Christie or Walker are doing- everyone knows where they stand
At timed Quinn leaves me with the impression that h is playing a game of chicken…with himself. he keps charging forward only to panic and veer out of his way.
meanwhile the GOP can focus on their talking points of we need to cut (without naming any) and no borowing etc… since Quinn seems determined to make sure no one knows the ramification of not borrowing to pay off the backlog etc.
I’d like to ask a question that will unquestionable get me a flurry of hate…do the programs that are facing the ax have credible, substantial, and persuadable facts relative to their effectiveness? If not, why continue to toss scarce money their way. If they DO, then why aren’t those facts used to make their case.
I apologize is I’ve missed their facts.
I imagine a picture of a horse charging forward with the intrepid rider leading the way…..facing backwards. Hey, you’all voted for PQ, I hope it’s working out well for you. Too bad for those who need him to be consistent and firm. We certainly knew he was like this before the election, didn’t we?
Louis XVI; if so, then perhaps it is a problem of presentation. Who the hell (particularly the public) wants to read/listen to “reams of outcomes”? How about several solid, remarkable, influential DOT POINTS that can be effectively put forth and defended.
- Pot calling kettle - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 1:26 pm:
As I suggested above, this should be going through the House and Senate. Cuts should have been proposed and justified in committee and passed on to full chamber votes when the budget was built (LAST YEAR!). Instead, they passed it on to the Gov. and this is what we get. Gov. Quinn has no direction and is getting constantly changing signals from the members of the GA who should have made these decisions, but they passed a budget that was not anywhere near balanced.
The dumbest thing PQ did was sign that budget bill last summer. He should have vetoed it and told the GA to make the cuts.
I am totally disgusted with the Governor with regard to this. He is recklessly and cruelly jerking people around, both the service providers with respect to their jobs and the service recipients with respect to their services, in targeting drug rehabilitation he is damaging one of the parts of the budget that demonstrably more than pays for itself in reduced costs to the criminal justice system, he is doing it over an amount of money that is insignificant relative to the overall hole in the budget, and he is blaming others (GA and his department head) for the chaos that he has caused. I watched the video of his comments yesterday and found myself screaming curses at it.
I’m in agreement with Jake. It is mind-bogglingly frustrating how the Governor will change directions on the drop of a dime. I spent 45 minutes with the bank this afternoon talking about the renewal of our line of credit, with which we pay wages and bills when the state gets more than 8 months behind. The question things were hinging on: what do you think the state is going to do with regard to your funding? I empathize with our elected representatives that there are no good choices, but there are good and planful ways to make them at least.