Still No Budget, While Illinoisans Continue to Suffer

Submitted on Wed, 05/31/2017 - 17:28

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 31, 2017

 

Media Contact:

Michelle Nicolet, mnicolet@povertylaw.org; 312.368.2675

 

Still No Budget, While Illinoisans Continue to Suffer

The Illinois General Assembly will complete its regular session today and, for the third straight year, it will fail to adopt a year-long, fully funded budget.

This dereliction of duty ensures that the pain being felt all throughout Illinois will persist and grow worse. Seniors  will continue to lose meals on wheels and in-home care. People experiencing mental illness will be denied treatment. Survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse will be left without services vital for their safety and well-being. The list of suffering goes on.

The providers of these services have exhausted their funding options, including their reserves, lines of credit and grants from angel donors. Most have received no state payments since last fall. They simply cannot survive; a rash of new closings will likely occur; the state’s social service infrastructure will continue to erode. Meanwhile, a number of school districts across the state are facing the reality that they might not be able to start school on time in the fall.

Moreover, Illinois will also continue its tumble deeper into debt, building on its mountain of unpaid bills, and falling into junk bond status—a crisis that threatens the long-term health of the entire state.

Fiscal experts from across the political spectrum—from the Civic Federation to the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago to the Center on Budget and Tax Accountability to the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children—all agree that Illinois must adopt a budget that includes substantial new revenue in order to get out of this mess.

The Senate Democrats should be commended for voting for substantial new and permanent revenue.  But too many of our elected officials lack the courage and honesty to support what they all know is needed.

It's well past time to stop making preconditions, pointing fingers, making excuses, and cynically seeking to gain political advantages. And, as we’ve said since the outset of this impasse, the Governor shouldn’t place more importance on his non-budget Turnaround Agenda items than doing his basic duty of proposing and approving a balanced budget and working to fund vital services for the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

The Responsible Budget Coalition will not rest until Illinois gets a budget with adequate new and permanent revenue to repair the damage that's been done, fund vital services, and make smart investments for the future.

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The Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) is made up of more than 300 organizations throughout Illinois representing human services, health care, education, labor unions, civic organizations and faith communities. Together, we are calling on Governor Rauner and Illinois lawmakers to pass a responsible budget NOW that raises adequate revenue to fully fund vital services.

For a PDF version of this statement, click here.