CBHA News Weblog

Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

Pat Quinn to Get Budget that Eliminates Mental Health Care for 175,000 Illinois Residents – Maybe

Posted by Frank Anselmo on June 2, 2009

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois General Assembly approved a doomsday budget on May 31.

The legislature appropriated only 50% of last year’s budget to state department for the coming fiscal year that begins on July 1.

Governor Pat Quinn

Governor Pat Quinn

As a result, the new budget guts human services, including mental health care and substance abuse treatment.

  • 175,000 people will lose community mental health services, dramatically increasing homelessness, institutionalization and incarceration rates.
  • 65,000 people with alcohol and substance addictions will lose treatment.

Governor Pat Quinn and top legislative leaders–House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno–emerged from their meeting on Monday and announced they plan to hold more meetings on Thursday. They gave non-specific responses to questions about solutions to the budget impasse.

Governor Quinn said:

  • He would not sign the 50% GRF spending plan passed by lawmakers (at this time).
  • Social service providers would be notified later of “the possible consequences” of 50% funding.
  • He didn’t rule out signing the $30 billion capital bill–he had earlier said his signature was linked to passage of a balanced budget.
  • The “whole idea” of future meetings was to reach a balanced budget.

None of the legislative leaders said there was a time-line.  The governor could instruct agencies to continue operating at current levels leaving lawmakers to agree on an income tax increase later this year.

Leaders Radogno and Cross have said reforms and more cuts need to be agreed to before raising taxes.

At the moment, the doomsday budget (50% GRF in a lump sum for state departments) will not be sent to the Governor.  President Cullerton filed a motion to reconsider the vote on Senate Bill 1197–the budget bill, and Cullertons’ motion prevents the bill from being sent to the Governor at this time.

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