* Evan Bredeson…
The Department of Children and Family Services is set to receive almost $130 million more in the next fiscal year. This is the largest budget increase in more than 20 years. The hike will allow DCFS to hire over 300 [new] front-line staff, like case workers and investigators.
DCFS was appropriated $1.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2000. That would be equal to $2.12 billion today, which is almost a billion dollars more than was actually appropriated for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30th. Long way to go, campers.
* Peter Medlin…
Members of the Illinois Board of Higher Education are satisfied with how higher ed fared in the new state budget passed by Illinois lawmakers. […]
“…major steps in repairing the damage,” [Nyle Robinson, the Higher Education Board’s Interim Executive Director] said. “In fact, this is arguably the best session for higher education in a generation.” […]
Higher ed will get an 8.2% increase in general funds over last year.
According to the board members, that’s the largest increase for any year since they started keeping track of it in 1990.
There is also a $50 million dollar boost for Monetary Award Program grant funding.
* Christine Herman
The new state budget awaiting Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature includes what advocates say is a much-needed $80 million increase in funding for mental health and addiction treatment.
The state’s fiscal 2020 budget marks the first time in recent years that lawmakers have approved a signficant increase in state funding for behavioral health services, said Eric Foster, Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health. Last year’s increase amounted to only about 3%, he said.
This year’s funding increase includes $39 million for addiction treatment and prevention and $43 million for mental health services—which represents increases in 18% and 13%, respectively. The money will be made available to service providers through grant programs administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Foster said an additional $40 million appropriation to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will help expand access to psychiatric services; plus $7 million to HFS will be used to boost Medicaid reimbursement rates for mental health and addiction treatment. […]
Illinois spends relatively little on community-based treatment programs: $77 per person, compared to the national average of $133, according to the report; and people in Illinois living with mental illness are “more likely to encounter the criminal justice system, resulting in a large number of arrests and incarcerations,” the authors wrote.
* Karen Pierog
Carol Spain, an S&P Global Ratings analyst, said the state’s recently increased forecast for income tax collections along with revenue measures passed by the legislature resulted in a budget with “few one-time revenues.”
“In S&P Global’s view, the fiscal 2020 budget signals near-term credit stability and buys the state more time to address out-year gaps,” she said in an email.
Spain added that to maintain an investment-grade rating, further progress is needed “toward sustainable structural balance, paying down its bill backlog, and addressing its pension liabilities.”
Ted Hampton, a Moody’s Investors Service analyst, said full payment of Illinois’ fiscal 2020 pension contribution, which lawmakers said was in the budget, would be a positive move.
* Yvette Shields…
Moody’s Investors Service affirmed its Baa3 rating and stable outlook on Illinois general obligation bonds Tuesday afternoon.
The formal action underscores the views of several municipal bond market observers that the budget does just enough to keep the state from a calamitous downgrade to speculative grade — but nowhere near enough to start talking upgrade. […]
“In the past year, the state has avoided material worsening of its credit vulnerabilities and marginally built on strengths” as “buoyant tax revenues encouraged policymakers to refrain from proposed cuts to pension contributions, and the legislature authorized some new revenue sources, as well as a referendum to potentially adopt progressive income taxes to further increase revenue-raising capacity,” Moody’s lead Illinois analyst Ted Hampton wrote.
“The accomplishments of the 2019 legislative session indicate improvement in political willingness. However, pension contribution requirements remain on track to outpace organic revenue growth, which will subject the state to persistent fiscal pressure, barring further politically difficult decisions on tax increases or essential service cuts,” Hampton warned.
* U of I System snags $1.9 billion in funding - The new state budget doles out money for new buildings and the yet-to-be-built Discovery Partners Institute, as well as the most money ever for the state’s student financial assistance program.
* WIU to receive 5% funding increase
* ISU Fine Arts, Milner Library Rehab Included In Illinois Budget, Capital Bills
* UIS Will Get A New Library, Increased Funding, in Latest State Budget and Capital Plan