* From the Responsible Budget Coalition…
The regular session of the General Assembly ended last night at midnight and there was no agreement reached on a fiscal year 2016 or fiscal year 2017 budget. There is some indication that negotiations will continue during June in order to try to get something done before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. However, with the November general election and the partisan warfare intensifying, there is a real threat that no budget agreement will be reached until after the November general election, if ever.
The Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) releases the following statement:
Another major deadline has passed and again the officials charged with operating state government have failed to produce a fully-funded budget that implements Illinois’ policy priorities– that is, they have not produced a responsible budget.
The failure of our leaders to reach a budget agreement means that:
Child care centers that serve the children of tens of thousands of low-income workers will stop receiving funding.
Elementary and high schools may not open on time in the fall.
As many as 130,000 low-income college students could lose the Monetary Assistance Program grants they need to afford a college education.
All 29 agencies serving survivors of sexual assault will continue furloughs and staff reductions begun in July 2015 and services for over 3,700 sexual assault survivors will be in jeopardy.
The waiting time for the suicide hotline will be at least six months.
Thousands of more people experiencing homelessness will join the 8,000 that have already lost services.
In-home care services for seniors will continue to be slashed, forcing them into nursing homes, and many more will join the over 3,000 seniors that have already lost home-delivered meals (Meals on Wheels) services.
Illinois cannot wait any longer for a responsible budget; it cannot wait until after the election. Every day of the impasse causes more suffering and unmet need, loss of infrastructure and talent, and neglected state policies and programs. Every day of the uncertainty, unpredictability and dysfunction of the impasse further erodes the business climate. The Governor and the legislators have a job to do. They must pass a fully funded budget for FY16 and FY17 before the end of June.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…
Monsignor Michael M. Boland, President of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, released the following statement today in response to the lack of a resolution to the Illinois State Budget.
“Pope Francis has called on us as a society to care for the least among us and places special value on the lives of the elderly and children. Yet, for more than a year our state leaders have failed to pass a State budget that remembers those who are suffering the most in our communities.
The social safety net across the state is continuing to crumble. Like every other human services provider, we have been greatly impacted by the lack of a State budget or clear plan of how to proceed, more than a year after we anticipated a budget would be passed. We are owed more than $25 million by the State of Illinois for services that we were contracted to provide.
More than 1 million people count on Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago for help. These are the most vulnerable people in our state – seniors, children, veterans, families. These are the very people our elected leaders pledged to protect.
Throughout this past year we have made incredibly difficult decisions, including significant administrative budget cuts and implementing a hiring freeze, in order to keep our doors open and help those most in need in our communities.
This entire year we have operated in good faith that our elected officials will work together to find a solution to the State budget. It has become increasingly clear that the budget stalemate will continue into the summer.
We are the lifeline for support for 1 million people. However, it is unsustainable for us to continue to float the state more than $2 million each month for programs to support those most in need. Difficult decisions will need to be made soon if this budget stalemate continues. I strongly urge our elected leaders to take responsibility and pass a state budget that is not balanced on the backs of the poor. This is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of people’s lives.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** More bad news…
June 1, 2016
The following message was sent today by University of Illinois President Tim Killeen to faculty, staff and students regarding the state budget situation.
The General Assembly yesterday adjourned for the second straight year without reaching agreement with the governor on funding to support the University of Illinois system and public higher education across our state. These consecutive failures in Springfield are unprecedented in Illinois history.
Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders have pledged to continue negotiations, but I am gravely concerned about the implications for our students, our faculty and staff and our campuses if we are forced to weather another protracted period without adequate funding from the state.
This great university system is not in danger of shutting its doors, but a crisis is worsening nonetheless.
We are now 11 months into fiscal 2016 with only stopgap funding that will provide about a quarter of the nearly $650 million in state funding that we received the year before. Now, we face the prospect of a new fiscal year with no state support.
To date, we have weathered the shortfall responsibly through significant cost-saving initiatives, structural reforms and prudent financial management. But we cannot withstand a continued loss of state funding without considerable damage to our core missions – teaching, research, public service and economic development.
All options are on the table as we go forward – layoffs, reductions of academic programs, closure of units and cuts in a health-care enterprise that provides critical care to underserved populations in Chicago. All would damage the very core of our mission to serve students and the public good, and erode a rich, 150-year legacy of academic excellence and economic impact that would be far more costly to rebuild than sustain.
We will continue to do everything in our power to preserve the world-class quality that is synonymous with the University of Illinois, ramping up efforts that have been underway for well over a year to advocate at every turn for the interests of our students, our employees and the people and families of Illinois. I hope all of you will join us, and I will update you as the budget process unfolds.