Recently, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) held a press conference to urge Governor Rauner to rethink his move to cut $26 million dollars in state grants for social service programs. Yesterday, the Governor sided with the ILBC and restored the $26 million cut, most of which assist our most vulnerable citizens.
“We expressed our opposition to cuts that would have a severe impact on the advancement of communities of color,” said Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, who also serves as Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. “Dismantling programs whose main purpose is to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers and ensure mental health patients receive adequate care would have been a disservice to taxpayers.”
The ILBC advocated for the restoration of programs that centered around social service, education, mental health services and ensuring public safety.
“Cutting services for our most vulnerable citizens punishes working families in our communities,” Leader Lightford continued. “Our discontent with the additional cuts was evident in our collective tone. Restoring funding for these programs is a good step in toward reestablishing lost trust.”
Legislative leaders and the governor previously agreed to fund the remainder of the fiscal year. Before this recent restoration of funding, the governor originally felt that the cuts didn’t go far enough and slashed an additional $26 million, which didn’t sit well with the ILBC.
“For our Governor to listen to the voices of Illinoisans gives me hope that we can find reasonable solutions to complex issues facing our state,” said State Senator Emil Jones, Chairman of the Senate Black Caucus.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability said its projections show income tax receipts coming in from $300 million to $500 million better than previously projected, which was used to help restore funding for the programs cut by Governor Rauner.
“Grant cuts to social service agencies would have resulted in thousands of layoffs, sending workers to unemployment lines,” said Representative Rita Mayfield, House Black Caucus chairwoman. “I’m pleased the Governor used the additional revenue to restore the programs that were slated for cuts”
Since funding has been restored, services for children with autism, a hotline to help people quit smoking, funerals for the indigent and other programs are again operational.