Time Is Up! Illinois Needs a Realistic State Budget Today
With the state’s fiscal year expiring at midnight, Metropolitan Family Services today joined hundreds of Illinois not-for-profits in calling on Governor Rauner and the General Assembly to promptly pass a fair and adequately funded state budget.
Without a budget, on July 1 services for hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans go into a state of limbo, as hundreds of state contracts to provide these services cannot be executed without a state budget. While the state has begun to issue some contracts for programs that fit Governor Rauner’s budget priorities, the state has no legal authority to pay for these services until a budget is signed into law.
In addition, since the currently proposed version of the state budget does not replace billions in revenue lost when the state’s temporary income tax increase expired in January, it instead must rely on dramatic cuts to human services including psychiatric care, Teen Reach afterschool programs and other services provided by Metropolitan and other non-profits across Illinois. A newly announced rule change also halts new enrollment in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program for low-income families on July 1, barring thousands of working poor families from access to an essential service.
“This cannot be a game of chicken. The human and financial consequences of failure are too real,” said Metropolitan Family Services President & CEO Ric Estrada. “Low-income families and vulnerable Illinoisans should not be collateral damage of a political stalemate.”
Metropolitan Family Services is one of over 300 agencies to sign an open letter to the Governor and legislative branch to take immediate action to approve a budget that includes enough revenue to support services that children and families depend on.
“We have made short-term contingency plans to continue core services into early July, but we cannot use our line of credit to pay for failure in Springfield,” continued Estrada. “Many smaller agencies are already suspending essential services and laying off staff.”
While Metropolitan Family Services is well regarded by both public and private funders for high-quality, wraparound family services and sound fiscal stewardship, with nearly 40% of its budget coming from service contracts on behalf of the state, a continuing state budget impasse will have a deep impact on the 67,000 people the agency serves in Chicago, Suburban Cook and DuPage Counties. Examples include:
- Elimination of funding for psychiatric care grants, which will force the agency to lay-off doctors and psychiatric nurses at the center of its 9,984 client mental health practice.
- An enrollment freeze on child care programs will eliminate access to working poor families at its three city early childhood centers, while threatening key partnerships to expand early childhood services in DuPage County.
- Cuts to afterschool programs and school-based substance abuse prevention programs will place hundreds of young people at risk in communities across Chicago and the South Suburbs.
“We do not make widgets on an assembly line,” said Estrada. “We take care of people, in communities that need us. The time for a solution is now.”
About Metropolitan Family Services
Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal, to thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that empowers Chicago-area families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities.