Responsible Budget Coalition: On the failure of state leaders to reach another budget agreement

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a partner in the Responsible Budget Coalition. 

Springfield – The regular session of the General Assembly ended last night at midnight and there was no agreement reached on a fiscal year 2016 or fiscal year 2017 budget. There is some indication that negotiations will continue during June in order to try to get something done before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. However, with the November general election and the partisan warfare intensifying, there is a real threat that no budget agreement will be reached until after the November general election, if ever. 

On June 1, the Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) released the following statement:

Another major deadline has passed and again the officials charged with operating state government have failed to produce a fully-funded budget that implements Illinois’ policy priorities– that is, they have not produced a responsible budget.

The failure of our leaders to reach a budget agreement means that:

  • Child care centers that serve the children of tens of thousands of low-income workers will stop receiving funding.
  • Elementary and high schools may not open on time in the fall.
  • As many as 130,000 low-income college students could lose the Monetary Assistance Program grants they need to afford a college education.
  • All 29 agencies serving survivors of sexual assault will continue furloughs and staff reductions begun in July 2015 and services for over 3,700 sexual assault survivors will be in jeopardy.
  • The waiting time for the suicide hotline will be at least six months.
  • Thousands of more people experiencing homelessness will join the 8,000 that have already lost services.
  • In-home care services for seniors will continue to be slashed, forcing them into nursing homes, and many more will join the over 3,000 seniors that have already lost home-delivered meals (Meals on Wheels) services.

Illinois cannot wait any longer for a responsible budget; it cannot wait until after the election. Every day of the impasse causes more suffering and unmet need, loss of infrastructure and talent, and neglected state policies and programs. Every day of the uncertainty, unpredictability and dysfunction of the impasse further erodes the business climate. The Governor and the legislators have a job to do. They must pass a fully funded budget for FY16 and FY17 before the end of June.