An Illinois state government shutdown looms as lawmakers work to pass a budget before the end of the day. If no budget is passed, which seems more likely by the day, Illinoisans could face a number of cuts in state services.
In early June, Gov. Bruce Rauner released his plans in the case of a shutdown, which include closure of some state facilities and spending cuts on childcare and senior services. The Republican governor also announced plans to kill the $1.5 billion Illiana Expressway between Interstates 55 and 65 south of Chicago, which a U.S. District Court essentially did for the governor earlier this month. Rauner suspended the work in January, questioning its needs.
Rauner also said his administration would decide on the possible closure of up to two juvenile detention facilities, along with shuttering a southern Illinois minimum-security prison work camp, closing down five state museums and grounding state aircraft.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he is working on a plan to keep state workers' paychecks coming if there is a shutdown, but that plan has not been yet been clearly laid out. The first fiscal 2016 payroll date is July 15, so the governor has until then to figure out how workers will be paid.
To ensure that Illinois public schools remain open and relatively unaffected by the cuts when classes begin in the fall, Rauner signed a bill last week allowing funds to continue flowing to schools. The measure increases K-12 education spending by $244 million and early child education funding by $25 million.
Chicago Public Schools hasn't escaped the financial mess, however. The district must pay $634 million to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund on June 30 as well, or it could face a possible lawsuit or even bankruptcy, not to mention teacher cuts and reduced class sizes.
Earlier in June, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the district was at "breaking point" and did not have the money to make the payment. In an afternoon press conference on Tuesday, however, House Speaker Michael Madigan said he hears reliably that CPS will make the payment in full before midnight.
Among the museums facing the possibility of closure is the Chicago Gallery of the Illinois State Museum and the Illinois Artisans shop in the Thompson Center, according to the Chicago Reader.
Several state agencies also face significant budget cuts:
- The Department of Children and Family Services
- The Department of Human Services
- The Department of Healthcare and Family Services
- The Department of Juvenile Justice
- The Department of Employment Security
The Department of Children and Family Services faces a $1.2 billion cut. One of the biggest impacts of this cut could hit the thousands of state wards that Illinois failed to find permanent homes for before they aged out of foster care.
Facing a lesser, but still significant, cut is the Department of Human Services. The $1.1 million cut will affect programs like Teen Living in Chicago, which receives about $276,000 from the state, some of which pays staff members to help young at-risk clients find jobs, enroll in school and get subsidized housing.
Additionally, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission faces an $8.4 million cut, meaning students whose families make an average of about $30,000 a year will miss out on about $3,500 of tuition help to attend public universities.
Medicaid could suffer a $1.47 billion cut, about half of which would affect hospitals. The Illinois Hospital Association estimated that the cuts would result in 12,591 lost jobs and $1.75 billion in lost economic activity in the state.
Several programs for children, the elderly and the disabled have indicated that the proposed budget cuts could mean their end. The Good Shepherd Center for childcare in south suburban Hazel Crest, for example, sent a letter to parents warning of the severe impact of cuts to the Child Care Assistance program (CCAP). According to the letter, if no budget is passed, the state will stop paying service providers in CCAP.
"This fact will make it very difficult for the Child Care Center to continue to meet all the schools' bills such as the rent, school materials and, of course, staff salaries," the letter reads. "Due to this fact we will have to stop serving children in the CCAP program effective July 10th unless a new state budget is passed."
The deadline for passing a state budget is Tuesday. Four leaders of the Illinois General Assembly met with Rauner on Monday, less than 48 hours before the deadline, but they emerged to say that no progress had been made.