As Pat Quinn Readies Budget Cuts, Drug, Alcohol Treatment Advocates Commend Governor for Making Health Care a Priority

(Springfield, IL) — As Governor Pat Quinn prepares to implement the new Illinois budget sent to him by the Illinois General Assembly, drug and alcohol prevention and treatment advocates are commending Quinn for his priority to protect health care.

“We commend Governor Quinn for making health care a budget priority,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “To make health care priority a priority, we urge the Governor to protect funding for addiction health care services.”

Governor Quinn’s original budget for the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse within the Illinois Department of Human Services, headed by Secretary Michelle Saddler, had planned to slash Illinois drug and alcohol treatment for more than 2,500 Illinois residents, including 1,000 women.

Since 1995, the number of Illinois women in drug, alcohol has surged 41%, Illinois women need more help, not less,” said Howe. “We want Governor Quinn avoid cuts to addiction health care services that will fall on women.”

Proposed budget cuts this year for community prevention and treatment providers would be on a top a 22% cut last year.

“Relentless budget cuts are forcing the Illinois addiction healthcare system into a death spiral and women are increasingly suffering the brunt of the budget pain,” said Howe.

In FY 2009, there 89,909 individuals receiving treatment services, down from 101,105 in FY 2008, a 11.6% decrease.

Quinn Joins 5,000 at Capitol Rally as Illinois Doomsday Budget Looms

(Springfield, IL) – Governor Pat Quinn joined more than 5,000 human service supporters, clients, and workers at a rally at the state capitol in Springfield today to protest the looming 50% funding cuts to human service providers under the Illinois General Assembly’s “doomsday” budget that begins on July 1.

Under the “doomsday” budget, Quinn’s administration is warning 65,000 people will lose drug

Doomsday rally in the state capitol today. (Photo posted originally at Capitol Fax Blog)

Doomsday rally in the state capitol today. (Photo posted originally at Capitol Fax Blog)

treatment, 175,000 will lose mental health care, 40,000 seniors will no longer have home healthcare aides, 9,000 foster parents will have their expense reimbursement halved, and more.

“This budget will destroy Illinois’ addiction healthcare system,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Little will remain standing on July 1.”

The fiscal year 2010 state budget is facing a $9.2 billion deficit. Of that amount, $5 billion will cut from community human service providers.

The legislature cut $2.24 billion from the Illinois Department of Human Services, reducing, for example, Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse contracts to community services providers by 75%.

Lawmakers are in the state capitol this week mulling over possible options to avoid the human service budget cuts that Quinn has warned are coming without an income tax increase.

“It is absolutely essential that the legislature pass an income tax increase,” said Don Moss, Coordinator of the Illinois Human Services Coalition.

“For the sake of the private nonprofit human service delivery system throughout our state, the alternative, as they say, is too horrible to contemplate.”

The Illinois Human Services Coalition and SEIU joined IADDA as the rally’s co-hosts.

The legislature is in special session this week to grapple with the budget crisis.