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Another hostage on death’s door

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017

* SJ-R on Friday

A 49-year-old drug treatment center that has seen demand for services rise during the nationwide heroin epidemic plans to shut its doors by early April because of payment delays associated with the ongoing state budget crisis.

The Wells Center’s 32 adult inpatient beds and outpatient programs will close the first week of April, and all 33 employees at the Jacksonville site will be laid off, unless the 20-month budget crisis is resolved, executive director Bruce Carter said Friday.

“I’m very frustrated, like many citizens are,” said Carter, 65, who has led the agency for 37 years. “You see real people suffering.” […]

The decision to close, Carter said, was “directly related” to payment delays associated with the state’s lack of a permanent budget since July 2015. […]

Wells Center, serving 500 clients per year with an annual budget of about $4 million, is owed almost $1.4 million for services provided since July 2016, Carter said. The money owed includes funds held up by the lack of a permanent state budget and payments delayed by Medicaid managed-care companies, he said.

* SJ-R on Monday

Aides to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are blaming Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza for failing to ease some of the financial stress on a Jacksonville drug-abuse treatment agency caught in the political crossfire of Illinois’ budget crisis. […]

“It’s outrageous that Comptroller Mendoza is currently sitting on” the money “that she has refused to release,” Demertzis said. “We urge the comptroller to release these funds immediately to ensure the Wells Center can continue providing critical services.”

Contacted by The State Journal-Register, aides to Mendoza wouldn’t commit to issuing $345,000 in payments right away to Wells Center but said they would try to help as much as possible.

OK, so the Rauner administration wants the comptroller to release millions of dollars for a computer system upgrade and dismisses the comptroller’s complaints that doing so would hurt social service groups, but the Rauner administration also complains that the comptroller isn’t sending money to a drug treatment agency even though the current bill payment backlog is currently $12.4 billion in the red.

There may very well be some games being played here. I can’t say one way or the other. But I do know that the comptroller can’t print money. Just because we have checks in the book doesn’t mean there’s money in the account.

* Also, scroll down

If a check for $342,000 from the state arrived in the next few days, Wells Center’s board would meet and potentially postpone a closure, he said. But the problem of not knowing when the budget stalemate will be resolved remains, he said.

“What’s the prospects of them passing a budget in the next few weeks?” Carter asked. […]

Also included are payments being processed and evaluated by the Illinois Department of Corrections but not yet sent to the comptroller’s office for payment, he said.

The comptroller can’t process vouchers that haven’t even been submitted.

…Adding… This is, unfortunately, probably the best hot take on this topic I’ve seen…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Magic Dragon - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:16 am:

    Governor Rauner - this one is on you. Stop blaming others for your own mismanagement. Governor’s own! Do. Your. Job.

  2. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:38 am:

    All part of the grand plan to run people you owe out of business, so they can’t collect the money you owe them. It’s working well with the small vendors that don’t have angels to sustain them.

  3. - Juice - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:41 am:

    Or last week’s shenanigans over which fund CMS employees would be paid from.

  4. - don the legend - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    Hello, Hello?: paging Representative C. J. Davidsmeyer. I can’t hear you!!

  5. - Higher Ed - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:45 am:

    Rauner. Doesn’t. Care.

  6. - Chicago_Downstater - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:51 am:

    That last tweet is spot on. This nonprofit “debt bubble” is akin to seeing a brick wall coming, but knowing that your brakes have been cut. It’s going to be one heck of an ugly crash.

  7. - Past the Rule of 85 - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    Once. Just once I’d like to see Rauner admit and accept the fact that he’s the top executive and has the responsibility to serve all the people of Illinois. I’m sure he’d be at the front of the line to bask in the glory if they had announced more services for their clients.

  8. - Rabid - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:08 am:

    Leave it to a milennium being compassionate is irresponsible

  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:11 am:


    The Ounce gets to a point of severity, then Diana and Bruce Rauner will care.

    The response by the Rauner Administration isn’t about “doing what’s right”, but ensuring that Comptroller Mendoza is the person they want people to blame for Rauner lacking a budget… and not doing what Rauner requires…

    If Rauner is successful in getting any/all blame on the Comptroller and not on his administration for not having a budget, then why worry Rauner Administration, social services will fail as planned, and the blame won’t be on the RaunerS.

    Abdon has the toughest job in Illinois Government “right now…

    This pivoting and using a spun story by the Rauner Crew, I’m not surprised, it’s the way Rauner can keep blame at bay.

    Can Abdon tilt it back to budget, “Do Your Job” and still portray empathy, that’s the play that gets the pressure back on Rauner?

    Meanwhile, more stories like this will arise. That I am sure if happening.

  10. - Aim to Misbehave - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    I truly hate to think the worst of someone, and I want to believe that Governor Rauner means well.

    However, I continue to have this horrible thought that maybe this is intentional? If you starve a company long enough, it makes them vulnerable to bankruptcy or selling their assets and folding. Often those assets are sold at a greatly reduced rate.

    When that crash happens, how many non profits will be bought out by for profit corporations who will provide services? Will they provide cut rate services at cut rate pricing?

    It would be a way to reduce spending on services while continuing to blame your political opponents for the problems. It would also explain the moving goalposts while supposedly negotiating a budget fix. I truly hope I am wrong on this, but why else drive the state into disaster like this?

  11. - working stiff - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    how long before she gets her own blame mendoza page? /s

  12. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    I get that business is amoral. But Rauners actions are immoral.

  13. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    “Rauner. Doesn’t. Care.”

    Oh, he cares.

    “In Illinois there’s been a long-time history of what I would call social service, social justice, a bigger role for government in the safety net than in many other states. I think we can drive a wedge issue in the Democratic Party on that topic” — Bruce Rauner, September 18, 2012.

    This is Bruce Rauner’s one and only plan. And it always has been.

    – MrJM

  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    Squeeze the beast has always been the plan.

    A sharpie like Rauner doesn’t add $8 billion to the backlog of bills with any intention of paying it.

    Kill off some vendors, and the debts you owe them magically disappear. Those that survive, you strong arm them into taking pennies on the dollar to stay in business.

    Some people do business that way. They’re called gangsters.
    Those that barely survive, you strong arm

  15. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Bruce Rauner blaming The Comptroller’s Office is like Mrs. O’Leary’s cow blaming the fire department.

  16. - Highland IL - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    === Hello, Hello?: paging Representative C. J. Davidsmeyer. I can’t hear you!! ===

    C.D. isn’t helping his constituents, some who are probably friends of his.

  17. - lost in the weeds - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    Unimpaired free market capitalism will not be denied /s

  18. - Generic Drone - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 12:58 pm:

    Rep. C D Davidsmeyers’ silence on this matter proves he is a Rauner puppet. He needs ousted.

  19. - Swede - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    This will cost people’s lives. Bruce and others must feel so bad watching the closure of services they worked so hard to build. Lpickup

  20. - Swede - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 4:16 pm:

    The Bruce who worked so hard is Carter not Rauner

  21. - RNUG - Tuesday, Mar 14, 17 @ 5:19 pm:

    Just saw a news report that Mendoza went and met with them. Apparently some kind of takeover plan is being worked out to ensure the services continue.

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