Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Human Services immediately terminated all contracts for services delivered by 22 state programs that serve thousands of people throughout the state of Illinois. Included are services for persons with autism and those with epilepsy, the developmentally disabled, the mentally ill and people experiencing homelessness, and also addiction prevention and after school services for teens and services for immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens. In addition, the Department of Public Health eliminated six such programs. No advance notice was given.
In February, Governor Rauner had proposed to eliminate all funding for these services starting July 1, giving the General Assembly time to decide whether to accept his proposals or find the additional revenue needed to avoid such drastic cuts. However, the Governor has now chosen to unilaterally terminate state services throughout our communities, forcing service providers to close their doors.
The Responsible Budget Coalition, a coalition of 200 organizations working to preserve vital services for Illinois families and communities, condemns the elimination of state funding for these programs. Not only are these services of vital importance to the people served and their families, in many instances they save taxpayers money by avoiding greater costs in the future. For example, Governor Rauner also has proposed slashing funding for the Early Intervention program for children ages 0-3 with developmental delays. Children who lose these services are significantly more likely to need much costlier special education services later.
“These services have strong track records of success addressing acknowledged problems in Illinois. No principle of good or smart government is served by arbitrary surprises like this” said John Bouman, President of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and a member of the Coalition. “Funding for these vital services and investments should be restored.” The Governor’s rash actions underscore the need for our leaders to address Illinois’ revenue crisis – before even more people across our state see doors closing.
April 6, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dan Lesser, 708.927.8796