CBHA News Weblog

Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

Pat Quinn Should Not Sign Illinois Doomsday Budget, Mental Health Advocates Urge

Posted by Frank Anselmo on June 16, 2009

(Springfield, IL) — Governor Pat Quinn should not sign the Illinois Doomsday budget approved by the Illinois General Assembly on May 31, Illinois’ leading mental health advocates today urged.

“Increasing teen suicides, abandoning recovering mothers onto the street, and jailing the mentally ill are the

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

Frank Anselmo, CEO, CBHA

outcomes that the legislature’s budget offers,” said Frank Anselmo, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois. Governor Quinn needs to clearly state he won’t sign the ‘Doomsday budget'”.

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

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.

However, Anselmo noted that the legislature’s budget fully funds certain areas of state government operations and programs:

  • All state employee payroll costs, including funds for minimum 4% salary increases for union employees.
  • All Medicaid grants for Physicians, Hospitals and Nursing Homes.
  • All operation costs for public universities and community colleges.  Spending in these areas actually was increased.
  • Elementary and secondary education grants such as general state aid and special education.  Funding in these areas increases from last year.

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–have been meeting regularly to seek solutions to the budget impasse. They meet again tomorrow.

The governor could instruct agencies to continue operating at current levels leaving lawmakers to agree on an income tax increase later this year, Anselmo says.

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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3 Responses to “Pat Quinn Should Not Sign Illinois Doomsday Budget, Mental Health Advocates Urge”

  1. Contact your representatives by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/zIxoA

    On May 31, 2009, the Illinois General Assembly passed a partial budget which created a $9.2 billion funding gap which is now forcing draconian cuts in fundamental state services.

    A budget that cuts human services and other vital programs by 50% or more will result in significant job losses, perhaps as high as several hundred thousand jobs across Illinois. Instead of helping others, collecting a paycheck, purchasing goods and services in local communities and paying taxes, these individuals will be collecting unemployment insurance and public aid.

    A vote for a fair income tax increase will protect vital services that Illinois families depend on, especially in these difficult economic times we find ourselves in. We cannot fill a $9.2 billion budget hole through cuts, therefore new revenues are needed. Government reforms that will serve the public interest are important, but please don’t hold human services hostage in the process.

    CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES NOW!

  2. Kelly said

    So what do we do?! Please give us a plan of action! Let’s ban together as mental health professionals and make a difference! Who do we write to? Can we protest? Have a sit in? Let’s DO something instead of sitting around waiting for them to cut our jobs and send our patients out into the street!

  3. Kahy Crum said

    I work for a community mental health center and I see daily how much these people rely on the services that we provide. I for one would hate to think what would become of these folks without their counselors, casemangagers and the meds they need to survive each day. Better make a plan on what we are gonna do with these people with out the guidance they need.Some of them have no one else to care about them but the people that are employed at my facility.

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