Gov. Pat Quinn tried to reassure nervous human service providers and beneficiaries this week, telling reporters that he doesn’t support “and never will” a 50 percent budget passed last month that would slash roughly $4.5 billion in spending. Quinn is now clinging to hope that ...
Gov. Pat Quinn tried to reassure nervous human service providers and beneficiaries this week, telling reporters that he doesn’t support “and never will” a 50 percent budget passed last month that would slash roughly $4.5 billion in spending. Quinn is now clinging to hope that a slew of spending cuts, fund sweeps, and short-term borrowing
measures will bring the General Assembly around to adopting an income
tax increase large enough to close the state’s deficit. But human
service providers remain rightly nervous and are getting plenty of
mixed signals from the governor’s office.
Yesterday, Voices for Illinois Children (VFIC) released yet more research on the effects of a doomsday, bare-bones budget. The new report, filled with a program-by-program tally of the impending cuts, highlights a disturbing pattern; programs that empower Illinois’ children and families would very likely sustain the bulk of the cuts. Notice in the chart below (click for larger version) that the departments of Human Services (DHS), Children and Family Services (DCFS), Public Health, Aging, and the Student Assistance Commission all face between 30 and 50 percent cuts:
The broader point co-authors Larry Joseph and Manya Khan are trying to drive home is that there is no temporary fix to Illinois’ financial problems and turning a blind eye to the ongoing structural deficit represents willful ignorance:
Many legislators, opinion leaders, and newspaper editors are clinging to the myth that the state’s massive budget shortfall can be readily fixed with spending cuts alone. Others are denying or ignoring the reality of the state fiscal crisis. But the consequences of a doomsday budget are already very real and quite severe. Moreover, $5 billion in spending cuts is still not enough to close the state budget deficit, which is now estimated to be $9 billion. The General Assembly should meet its fiscal and social responsibilities and summon the political will to achieve a balanced solution to the state fiscal crisis – which must involve raising new revenue, beginning with the state income tax.
You can read the full report here.