(Chicago, IL) — March 30, 2011. In an op-ed published yesterday, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) criticized Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed cuts to next year’s Illinois human services budget.
“Even with prioritized funding, human services- made up by the Department of Aging, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Family and Child Services- is the only of these areas of Quinn’s proposed budget facing major ostensible cuts in funding adding up to $211 million less than last year while the others increased,” wrote Hunter, the Chair of the Illinois Senate Human Services Committee.
Hunter, who notes that after inflation all four prioritized areas are significantly underfunded compared to their rate in 2000, complained that Illinois human services bear a disproportionate share of cuts in Quinn’s fiscal 2012 budget plan.
“What is even more disheartening is the disproportioned cut proposals within the human services area which mostly affects the neediest of our state, including cuts to child care, teen parent and mental health services, drug treatment facilities and programs for poor seniors.
“In his budget address, Governor Quinn proposed cutting $350 million to childcare services and $33 million cut for mental health facilities.”
In her editorial, Hunter warned that state intitutions, such as prisons, would be the default provider of state services if community provider funding is further drained.
“I fear with continued cuts to human services our State will revert back to relying on institutions and prisons rather than community rehabilitation. Rehabilitation creates working, tax-paying citizens in place of inmates and patients,” Hunter wrote.
This is strong stuff from a loyal member of the Governor’s own party.