Speaker Madigan Says Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence Are Top Budget Priorities Next Year

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago)

(Rockford, IL) – In remarks made in Rockford last week, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) laid out his state budget priorities for next year, which include protecting key groups of vulnerable Illinois citizens.

“There are certain items I think should happen such as money for mental health, money for community service providers that deal with substance abuse, domestic violence, Madigan says, “But beyond that, we need some tough negotiating, because Illinois doesn’t have that much money to spend today.”

Madigan’s comments drew praise from the state’s leading substance abuse prevention and treatment advocacy group.

“After suffering more than a 50% reduction of state funding in the last few years, we welcome Speaker Madigan’s willingness to back substance abuse treatment services, which save the state money, and to draw a line in the sand against further budget cuts,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

Since 2009, substance abuse treatment money from the state’s General Revenue Fund has dropped from $120 million to $47 this year.

Despite Madigan’s pledge, Illinois’ budget situation for next year remains precarious.

Although the Illinois Commission on Budget Forecasting and Accountability, the legislature’s fiscal arm, expects state revenues to grow $1.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2013, which begins on July 1, 2012, new data reveals that the state’s pension payment, which includes debt service, will rise by approximately $1 billion to $7.4 billion. The pension tab totals $6.4 billion this year.

The total state budget for this year that is derived from only state revenues is $33.173 billion. The pension payment swallows more than 20% of the state’s annual spending plan.

“The dire budget means that we still need to convince other House lawmakers, the state Senate, and Governor Pat Quinn of the need to preserve substance abuse prevention and treatment funding,” said Howe.

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