Social Service Losses
Effects of the Budget Impasse on Southern Illinois
Southern Illinois was disproportionately affected by program losses and layoffs due to the budget impasse. The State of Illinois ended more than two years without a complete state budget on July 6, 2017. Over those two years, social service agencies reduced staff and services and many closed doors.
Even with the passage of a budget, Illinois accumulated a backlog of bills totaling $14.7 billion with expected late payment interest costs of approximately $800 million, according to the report Damage Done: The Impact of the Illinois Budget Stalemate on Women and Children. It is estimated that it will take years to work through the backlog of bills owed to service providers who have depleted reserves. The United Way reported that in the first year without a budget, 1 million Illinoisans were directly impacted, many of them children and the elderly.
What can I do?
Please consider making private donations to local social service providers, some of which have remained open solely due to local support. Contact the governor and your legislators and voice your opinion that funding must be a priority for vital social services.
Recommendations for raising adequate revenue to fully fund all social services include: raising personal and corporate income tax rates back to their pre-rollback levels of 5 percent and 7 percent; taxing non-Social Security retirement income; expanding the sales tax to services; temporarily removing the sales tax exemption for food and over-the-counter medicine; closing corporate tax loopholes; and the proposed LaSalle Street tax, a small tax on financial transactions on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Researchers from the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children have put forward a broad range of available revenue options state lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner could adopt to avoid deep budget cuts to crucial programs and services.