Archive for May 2009

Madigan, Cross, and Other House Lawmakers Pushed to Increase Illinois Income Tax

May 27, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Child Care Association of Illinois today called on the Illinois House to approve an income tax increase.

“The Child Care Association of Illinois recognizes that the state of Illinois is in financial crisis, but lawmakers must not reduce or eliminate vital human services,” said Marge Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois. “For some elected officials this will be a difficult vote, but we urge lawmakers to vote for an income tax increase.”

Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago)

Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago)

“If the House fails to approve an income tax increase, lawmakers must then vote for Governor Pat Quinn’s doomsday budget as a budget balancing alternative–and accept their complete abdication of responsibility,” said Berglind.

The Doomsday Budget contains cuts, reductions and eliminations across all human services.

If the income tax vote that is expected on Wednesday falls short, the House will probably vote on this doomsday budget on Thursday.

“It would be a budgetary bloodbath,” said Berglind.

At DCFS, if Quinn’s average 37% cut is applied across the board, its budget would end up at about $850 million—almost $500 million less than currently budgeted. Abused and neglected child caseloads for workers collide with court consent decrees, according to Berglind.

On the DHS side, Community Health and Prevention Division would decrease from $237 million to $149 million—a loss of $88 million. Some of the budget lines are so small they could not absorb a 37% reduction and still be viable.

“Many youth services would not survive,” said Berglind. “They would just be eliminated.”

The Chairs of the House and Senate Human Services Appropriations committee—State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and State Senator Donne Trotter—need to communicate to House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno that a state income tax increase must be approved.

The members of Senate Appropriations Committee—Jeff Schoenberg, Jacqueline Collins, William Delgado, Mattie Hunter, Mike Jacobs, Emil Jones, Matt Murphy, Pam Althoff, Tim Bivins, Chris Lauzen and Dave Syverson as well as the House members Harry Osterman, Rosemary Mulligan, Patricia Bellock, Beth Coulson, Keith Farnham, Jehan Gordon, Deborah Graham, Elizabeth Hernandez, Eddie Jackson, David Leitch, Deborah Mell, Kathy Ryg, Angelo Saviano, Tim Schmitz, Darlene Senger, Ron Stephens, Mark Walker, and Eddie Washington—need to deliver the same message to legislative leaders.

Voters will be watching.

The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 31.

Quinn Doomsday Budget Will Doom Care for Abused and Neglected Children, Feigenholtz and Trotter Need to Rally Madigan, Cullerton

May 21, 2009

(Springfield, IL)Governor Pat Quinn’s recent doomsday budget announcement offered no detail on the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or on the child service budget lines within the Department of Human Services.

But we can offer an educated guess: a budgetary bloodbath.

Governor Pat Quinn

Governor Pat Quinn

At DCFS, if Quinn’s average 37% cut is applied across the board, its budget would end up at about $850 million—almost $500 million less than currently budgeted.

Last year, when DCFS weighed $75 million in cuts, those cuts would have eliminated 40% of system of care, threatening to explode caseloads.

Quinn is now talking almost 7 times that much.

The Child Care Association of Illinois would anticipate if that degree of cut was made, all child caseloads would have to be increased to the maximum allowed by consent decrees (20 for foster care) plus more in caseloads that are not subject to consent decree.

Under those conditions, the abuse and neglect suffered by children would simply be committed by the state of Illinois.

All programs with minimal or no federal funding stream would be cut—much of the family preservation line, certain counseling, quite a bit of training would be gone. Even with that amount cut, DCFS could not achieve the budget reduction goal. DCFS would need to decrease private agency rates too.

On the DHS side, Community Health and Prevention Division would decrease from $237 million to $149 million—a loss of $88 million. Some of the budget lines are so small they could not absorb a 37% reduction and still be viable. They would just be eliminated. If the private youth services agencies thought 10% would be the end of the program, a 37% cut would be unfathomable.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has not much to cut, unless they eliminate entire wings of facilities. If they eliminate all aftercare, they still would not make their budget cut share.

Juveniles would be released from corrections with no aftercare services, although it is unsure how much leeway Governor Quinn has on releasing either juveniles or adults who have been duly sentenced to specific timeframes under the law.

For the Illinois State Board of Education, we cannot even predict how they would cut. Another budgetary bloodletting.

The Chairs of the House and Senate Human Services Appropriations committee—State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and State Senator Donne Trotter—need to communicate to House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno that state human service agencies and the vulnerable citizens they would cease to exist in any recognizable form after such budgetary ax swings.

The members of Senate Appropriations Committee—Jeff Schoenberg, Jacqueline Collins, William Delgado, Mattie Hunter, Mike Jacobs, Emil Jones, Matt Murphy, Pam Althoff, Tim Bivins, Chris Lauzen and Dave Syverson as well as the House members Harry Osterman, Rosemary Mulligan, Patricia Bellock, Beth Coulson, Keith Farnham, Jehan Gordon, Deborah Graham, Elizabeth Hernandez, Eddie Jackson, David Leitch, Deborah Mell, Kathy Ryg, Angelo Saviano, Tim Schmitz, Darlene Senger, Ron Stephens, Mark Walker, and Eddie Washington—need to deliver the same message to legislative leaders.

Voters will be watching.

Governor Quinn’s Budget Slashes Youth Services for Illinois Teens; 3,000 Kids Likely Pushed out of Emergency Homeless Shelters; Madigan, Cross, Cullerton, and Radogno Urged to Restore Funding

May 5, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois child welfare advocates have joined forces to roll back Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed budget cuts of $6.9 million that will tear a hole in the state safety net for 50,000 young people many of whom are annually diverted from detention centers, foster care, psychiatric hospitals, and homelessness.

The Child Care Association of Illinois and the Illinois Collaboration on Youth are jointly working to persuade state lawmakers to set aside Quinn’s budget and restore the $6.9 million to the state youth services budget.

“Governor Quinn’s budget cuts to emergency housing will likely push 3,000 youth back to the streets due to lack of space in homeless youth shelters,” said Marge Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois.

In addition to cuts to homeless youth shelters, Quinn’s budget eliminates out-of-school time activities for over 4,000 youth, Berglind noted.

One budget cut that makes no economic sense and would quickly cost the state more money, according to Berglind, is the program that diverts hundreds of youth from prison.

“By cutting the delinquency intervention program that keeps youth of out of prison, which costs approximately $1,200 annually for each kid, the state will end up paying an average of $70,000 more a year per youth if they go to prison.”

“Cut $1,200 and end up spending $70,000? That makes no economic sense,” said Berglind.

“We are working hard to ensure that Speaker Michael Madigan, House Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Leader Christine Radogno hear our message to restore the $6.9 million to the youth services budget,” said Berglind. “Once, they hear our message, we are confident lawmakers will restore the money.”