SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –State Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, recently backed a plan to fund critical state services for the groups hit hardest by the state’s two-year budget impasse, such as the elderly, domestic violence survivors and the state’s public colleges and universities.
“The ongoing budget impasse has decimated higher education and social service providers; just recently we have seen three more state universities slip into junk bond status,” D’Amico said. “This proposal would send much needed funds to higher education institutions, including Northeastern Illinois University, and to social service providers that offer vital services to residents all across Illinois.”
The lifeline budget D’Amico supported, House Bill 109, uses state dollars sitting in a fund created for the specific use of funding human services and higher education, two categories excluded from the court orders or continuing appropriations mandated during the budget impasse.
These funds cannot be used for any other purpose and exist to sustain state colleges and universities and social services such as Meals on Wheels, domestic violence shelters and programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. The damage from the state budget impasse has hit social service providers particularly hard, as a recent survey of human service agencies conducted by the United Way of Illinois found almost 70 percent of agencies had received no or only partial payment for state services delivered in 2017. That is double the percent of agencies receiving no or only partial payment for state services according to the same survey last year.
“The funds that were included in this package are only legally permitted to be spent on higher education or social service programs. To withhold these funds and use the damage that the impasse is causing as leverage to enact a political agenda is wrong,” D’Amico said. “While this measure offers much-needed relief, I understand it is not enough, and I will continue to work toward passing a full-year budget that protects working families, funds vital services for our most vulnerable residents and adequately funds education across all levels.”