Illinois House Version of Illinois Budget Speeds to Conclusion

(Springfield, IL) — Illinois Budget plans in the Illinois House for higher education, public safety and general services are headed for full debate this week, while agreements on elementary and high school education and human services are close to a resolution.

“The House will have the budget done by next week,” state Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, said.

The chamber set last Friday as the informal deadline to finalize detailed numbers for its estimated $33.2 billion total budget for next fiscal year.

State Rep. Kenneth Dunkin, D-Chicago, who heads the budget committee on higher education, said his group made it under the House’s higher education budget goal of $2.1 billion by targeting for-profit schools through the state’s monetary award program, or MAP.


Legislators Want Governor Pat Quinn To Halt Mid-Year Substance Abuse Treatment Budget Eliminations

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

(Springfield, IL) – At a press conference in Springfield today, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Jim Watson (R-Jacksonville) today unveiled a bi-partisan Illinois House resolution, HR 106, calling on Governor Pat Quinn to halt the elimination of all state funding for non-Medicaid drug and alcohol treatment services effective March.15.

“There is no question that we must make sacrifices as we address our budget problem,” said Watson. “However, it is important that these are shared sacrifices implemented in an equitable manner.”

“Completely eliminating addiction treatment is hardly equitable and if the lack of treatment opportunities resulting in higher rates of incarceration it could prove to be a more costly option,” stated Watson.

Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler informed Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association CEO Sara Moscato Howe on Friday, February 18 that providers would be notified on Tuesday regarding their contract reductions.

“The mid-year budget cuts will trigger the discharge of 55,000 treatment clients and the lay off of more than 5,000 workers,” said Howe.

“The reason I am participating in this effort to halt this budget elimination is not because I think there should not be any budget reductions. There must be reductions, even in human services,” said Feigenholtz, Chair of the House Human Services Committee.

“However, it looks like the global budgeting principles that the governor spoke about in his recent budget address are not being applied to these mid-year cuts. It seems that they just got thrown out the window.”

“The legislature recognizes that all state services must face funding reductions to put our fiscal house in order,” said Feigenholtz. “Such budget cuts should be fair and balanced and thoughtfully considered, but Governor Quinn’s cuts to drug treatment fail to meet that criteria.”

The lawmakers said that the contract reductions notifications coming from the Quinn Administration will have a March 15 effective date, but that date is arbitrary, meaning providers have already begun to refuse new clients and are preparing client discharges and staff lay offs this week.

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) also spoke in behalf of treatment funding restoration at the press conference in Springfield today.

In addition to the fiscal year 2011 mid-year budget cut, Quinn’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget also eliminates $55 million or 80% of state funding from the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse for prevention and treatment. That move will make the treatment reduction from 69,787 people this year to 13,957 next year, permanent.

As recently as fiscal year 2007, the state served 98,000 people. Quinn’s proposed budget also eliminates addiction prevention services for 229,536 youth.

“We urge Governor Quinn to halt these cults and work with the General Assembly to develop a funding plan that will keep these services operating,” said Feigenholtz.

Other House sponsors include, State Reps: Chad Hays, Patricia. Bellock, Keith Farnham, Daniel Biss, Mary Flowers, LaShawn Ford, Robyn Gabel, Lou Lang, Maria Antonia Berrios, Esther Golar, Greg Harris, Connie Howard, David Leitch, Rita Mayfield, Michael Tryon, Linda Chapa LaVia, Thomas Holbrook and Deborah Mell.

IL House Votes to Restore $55 Million for Drug Treatment; Senate Urged to Approve Plan

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois House yesterday voted unanimously to restore $55 million to the state’s alcohol and drug treatment budget which had been originally vetoed by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The House voted 113-0 to restore the $55 million to state addiction treatment services and to halt the

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO, IADDA

elimination of care for 42,000 across Illinois as part of $219 million supplement budget bill (SB 1103) to restore other state programs and services also vetoed by the Governor.

“The House’s action will restore drug treatment services to more than 42,000 people across the state,” said Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Now, we urge the Senate to act swiftly to approve the House’s action.”

On July 9, Blagojevich cut $55 million from addiction treatment services and also line-item vetoed money from specific programs:  victims of domestic violence, women returning from incarceration, youth treatment, youth in the court system, and women receiving federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families who require treatment to be employed.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago)

“It is critical to our state’s health care system that the Senate restore the $55 million to addiction treatment,” said State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “Therefore, I urge advocates and voters to convince the Senate to return to Springfield and to approve the money, too.”

Since the Governor’s budget veto was announced in July, treatment programs across the state have begun to eliminate services.

In suburban East Hazel Crest, Governor Blagojevich’s Administration eliminated $879,911 of a $4,273,054 grant to local treatment provider, South Suburban Council, which provides substance abuse treatment to more than 3,000 people each year.

“We will turn away approximately 600 South Suburban residents during the next year and 20,000 will soon be turned away across Cook County,” said Allen Sandusky, President of the South Suburban Council and Chairman of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

Sandusky noted that the Governor’s cuts also will trigger a loss of $55 million in federal matching funds, reducing the overall state addiction treatment budget by 43%. A 43% reduction will eliminate treatment for 42,140 people in Illinois out of 98,000 currently served, Sandusky estimates.

Meanwhile, Democratic State Senators Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), William Delgado (D-Chicago), Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), and Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) had previously announced that they too favored the restoration the $55 million to the addiction treatment budget.