Lawmakers Adjourn for Summer, Fail to Agree on Extra $400 Million for Illinois Human Services

Child Care Association of Illinois President Margaret Berglind

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois General Assembly concluded its spring session and adjourned for the summer late last night, but the Illinois House refused to concur with the additional spending recommendations for next year’s Illinois budget made over the weekend by the Illinois Senate.

“Those budget add-ons would have meant more than $400 million in additional appropriations for Human Services agencies,” said Child Care Association of Illinois President Margaret Berglind.

Instead, the House appointed a Conference Committee to work on the bill, but the Senate, however, declined to do so before adjourning.

During concluding remarks, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) noted that the Senate could be called back into session before the regular veto session in October.

“The House version of the budget is now the final appropriated budget,” said Berglind.

The total budget of $33.2 billion that the legislature sent to Governor Pat Quinn is about $2 billion less that the Governor’s proposed budget. Although total spending is a bit higher than last year’s levels in most areas, the cost of the state pension payments will be covered within this budget and not funded separately as in some previous years.

“We do not have word whether the Governor plans to approve the budget as passed by the General Assembly, veto it in full or provide any line item vetoes,” said Berglind. “He cannot add any new expenditure or increase any lines—he can only reduce line items or veto the budget in total.”

The General Assembly also extended the lapse period for bills unpaid before June 30, 2011 until December 31, just as it did for this fiscal year.

“Invoices will still need to be submitted by the state agency deadlines, which is probably in August,” said Berglind. “But the state will have extra months to pay the invoice before penalties kick in, for those overdue bills subject to penalties.”

The current estimate of the bill backlog is approximately $4 billion.

“Overall, the DCFS budget fares well considering the cuts that could have been made,” said Berglind. “DHS and DJJ, however, contain many areas of concern, and will pose problems for provider agencies as well as for our DCFS clients who use those services.”

The state education budget also contains some specific lines of concern, including an overall reduction to school districts in general state aid, which will place additional budget pressures on districts, Berglind noted.

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