* From Ed McManus…
The State of Illinois now says that it has paid providers for July and August developmental disability services–a total of $120 million. Late this morning, attorneys for the Rauner administration and comptroller Leslie Munger complied with U.S. District Judge Sharon Coleman’s order, which was issued Wednesday after attorneys for the people with disabilities asked her to hold state officials in contempt of court.
“As of Aug. 28, the Department of Human Services has processed all vouchers for community-based services . . . that would have been provided in July and August 2015″ on the same schedule as in previous years,” the lawyers for the state said, and “as of Aug. 28, the comptroller has paid all of the vouchers.” (State’s filing attached)
Ed McManus, a Wilmette-based consultant to many of the providers, said it is good news. “But we never should have had this payment crisis in the first place,” McManus said. “These agencies serving some of the state’s most vulnerable residents have waited two long months, ever since the new fiscal year began July 1, providing group-home and home-based services without getting paid a nickel. Many of them had exhausted their reserves and maxed out their lines of credit, and they were on the verge of collapse, which would have left the thousands of people they serve homeless. What kind of a state do we live in, where our government would allow this to happen?”
Attorneys for the state said between Aug. 18 and 27, the comptroller has made $786 million in payments to entities not covered by the Ligas consent decree–including state employee payroll, debt service, aid to schools, state retirement systems, child care, foster care and Medicaid providers. Details of those payments were submitted to the judge.
“The payments in this case do not exist in a vacuum,.” the state said. “They compete against the state’s other obligations, many of which are also covered by court orders. The state is operating at a deficit of a minimum of $300 million per month to make payments necessary to cover all of the state’s priority obligations. . . . Because of the state’s cash flow problems, the comptroller must evaluate on a daily basis the amount of cash on hand and determine which payments may be made. While the state will continue to diligently process payments to providers under the Ligas consent decree, it is not possible for the state to commit to making each of many specific payments on specific days.”
State officials face “extraordinarily difficult circumstances posed by the state’s current budget crisis and cash-flow problems,” the lawyers said, and therefore the judge should deny the request for a contempt order. Also, the judge should “clarify that compliance does not mean doing the impossible.”
The state had said at a court hearing Wednesday that $76 million in bills had been paid. The additional $44 million was paid since Wednesday, they said.
* From the state’s filing, which is here…
Per this Court’s August 26 Order, a list of payments the Comptroller has made since August 18 to entities not covered by this Court’s June 30 and August 18 Orders is provided in Exhibit B and the attachment thereto.
In broad terms, between August 18 and August 27, the Comptroller has made $786.4 Million in payments to entities not covered by this Court’s June 30 and August 18 Orders.
Of this amount, approximately $194 Million was for State employee payroll per court order, $101.8 Million for debt service, $188.4 Million for General State Aid to schools for K-12 education, $233.7 Million for State retirement systems, $8.2 Million for child care, $0.7 Million for foster care per court order, and $10.6 Million for payments to Medicaid providers per court order.
*** UPDATE *** “Exhibit B” can be read by clicking here.