ChildLaw Policy Institute
The State appears no closer to having a budget than it did last month.
Week 21 Update:
Programs and local governments across the state are reporting cuts or elimination of services protecting children, families, and the elderly, and tremendous uncertainty for students dependent on assistance to attend college.
The Illinois League of Women Voters reported last week that 75,000 survivors of domestic violence around the state are not receiving vital services that would help them to live safe and independent lives. This means having to choose between staying in a violent home or becoming homeless.
The dire consequences become even greater each day we go without a budget: every day we go without a budget, the less revenue is collected, the fewer dollars available to cover needed services for the remaining fiscal year, which doesn’t end until July 1.
December 1: Governor Bruce Rauner and the legislative leaders are scheduled to meet for a budget negotiation. No one expects the budget impasse to be resolved, but it’s hoped that it may provide a clue to how much longer before there is a budget, and one that invests in human services and protects children and families. The discussion is expected to be live streamed to media stations.
What You Can Do NOW
Your advocacy makes a difference. In November, Governor Rauner agreed to immediately restore access to affordable child care for most families who were cut off by The Governor’s earlier actions. This action was precipitated by the pressure exerted by families and service providers who knew that these catastrophic cuts that hurt children and working families, and our entire economy.
- Contact the Governor and your legislators to tell them human services require revenue and Illinois needs a budget now. It’s EASY. The link provides you with language for the email message. Or you can fill in your own message: Remind them that every day we don’t have a budget, the less revenue is collected and the fewer dollars available to cover needed services. Tell them this is a top priority and other agendas should not hold up revenue for human services.
- Consider reaching out to your legislators and meeting with them to discuss your concerns. See Talking Points and a Lobbying Guide prepared by the Responsible Budget Coalition. Remind lawmakers that Illinois has been without a budget for over 125 days. This length of time is unprecedented for the state. Tell them that human services require revenue. Tell them you want a state budget that includes revenue to support the underserved, including children and families. Tell them this is a top priority and other agendas should not hold up revenue for human services.
- If you represent an organization, join the Responsible Budget Coalition.
- Contact Professor Anita Weinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information.
Recent reports related to the budget impasse:
- The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability recently issued a report on resolving Illinois’ longstanding fiscal shortcoming. In the 15 page report, It Is All about Revenue: A Common Sense Solution for Illinois’ Fiscal Solvency, the CTBA identifies what it describes as “a number of common sense, data-driven initiatives that will modernize the tax code—and still keep Illinois relatively low tax.” The report also provides an understandable summary of Illinois’ expenses and revenue sources.
- Voices for Illinois Children’s Fiscal Policy Center compiled a budget snapshot to identify many critical services that are not being funded, how much state funding is required to close the current funding gap, and the growing human costs of the budget impasse.
- See the Responsible Budget Coalition’s 2-page Fact Sheet, Illinois’ Budget Crisis is Harming Families & Communities RIGHT NOW.
Background: As of July 1 Illinois stopped funding vital services for children, families, and communities because Illinois legislators and Governor Rauner could not agree on a budget that would support essential services. While significant parts of state government continue to operate through legal mandates, appropriations and court orders, community-based services remain in limbo with critical services being reduced or not delivered, including child care, domestic violence services, mental health services, and homeless youth services. Jobs are being eliminated. Some agencies have had to close their doors.
ChildLaw Policy Institute Overview
The Civitas ChildLaw Center’s Policy Institute seeks to improve the lives of children and families in Illinois through systems reform and legislative advocacy. The Policy Institute develops and promotes child-centered laws, policies and practices, and builds coalitions and partnerships to improve the functioning of the legal, social welfare, juvenile justice, health care and other systems that impact underrepresented children and families. Policy Institute faculty promote the increased use of interdisciplinary collaboration, public-private partnerships, and child development principles in fashioning policies relating to children and families. In addition, the Institute serves as a resource for lawyers, judges, legislators, public officials, child welfare specialists, health professionals, educators, social scientists, and others.