SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Services for domestic violence victims, homeless young people and rape victims are among those facing cuts as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office tries to close a $1.6 billion budget gap.
Nearly a month after legislation was approved by lawmakers aiming to fix this fiscal year’s budget, Rauner’s office indicated clearly for the first time how cuts will affect various programs within some agencies, informing appropriations staffers from the legislative caucuses Thursday evening of the news.
The legislation included $1.3 billion in transfers from special funds as well as a 2.25 percent across-the-board cut to shore up the hole in the $35.7 billion budget passed by lawmakers last spring. That budget didn’t provide enough funds to pay for promised state programs and services as lawmakers delayed a vote on whether to extend the state’s temporary income tax increase, which expired in January. Lawmakers and Rauner spent the early months of the new year negotiating a solution to plug the hole.
According to a document released by Rauner’s budget office, the Department of Human Services will see an overall loss of $1.1 million. That includes a $419,000 cut to domestic violence shelters and a $103,000 reduction to homeless youth services. A mental health program involving psychotropic drugs would be cut by $42,000. Spokeswoman Veronica Vera said the only two programs aren’t affected are for developmental disabilities and mental health.
Illinois community colleges will see a $6.37 million cut, according to data from its governing board. Spokesman Matthew Berry said the cut would not have an immediate impact on the schools because it’s occurring so late in the year and could have an impact on services over the summer as schools will be forced to dig into reserve funds.
Rauner’s budget office also said cuts will affect the Monetary Award Program at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, but did not disclose a specific dollar amount.
The release of the information follows a House panel’s examination of the governor’s suspension on Good Friday of $26 million in social service and public health grants — a move that surprised some lawmakers, who thought they had taken care of the problem with the legislative fix.
Rauner budget director Tim Nuding told lawmakers he intended to “do a better job communicating” and would do so as Rauner’s office works with the Legislature on a budget for the fiscal year beginning in July to fill a much larger $6 billion hole.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski, one of two Senate appropriations chairs, called Thursday’s move a “stark contrast to the letters that were sent out on Good Friday without any notice.”