(Chicago, IL) – February 1, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn may be aiming to take advantage of “Snowmageddon” that is battering Chicago and the Midwest to announce at the end of the week a new round of mid-year budget cuts on Illinois human social service providers, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Last week, The Illinois Observer reported that budget cuts could come—despite the new income tax increase–within a week to 10 days, and today the human services advocacy group Illinois Partners issued an e-mail alert to its 600 members warning that cuts could total “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“The Governor’s office is reportedly considering hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to the to the current year FY’11 budget,” wrote Illinois Partners Director Judith Gethner.
“We are hearing that these cuts will be focused on the Department of Human Service which would continue the practice of disproportionate cutting to our sector and the individuals and families we serve.”
A Quinn Administration source says the Illinois Department of Human Services will likely need to slice more than 10% of its budget, which is just shy of $4 billion.
“Providers should brace themselves,” said the source.
Gethner is however urging her members to call the governor and lawmakers’ office and to tell them, “During tough times we need to support Illinois families, not cut essential human services.”
Facing an empty state treasury, lawmakers will unlikely act to reverse any Quinn budget cuts, according to one legislator.
“We knew when we voted for the income tax increase that Quinn would still need to cut the budget and that those cuts would be deep,” said a long-time Democratic lawmaker. “There is no money. We’re broke.”
Though Quinn’s Administration may hope to bury bad budget news in the avalanche of news focusing on the blizzard, images of human service agencies turning out clients into the snow may only exaggerate the human and political pain.