Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed measures that would increase wages for workers who care for those with developmental disabilities and expand a child care program for low-income families.
The Republican governor said there isn't enough money to support the proposals.
He has used the same argument to block social service funding efforts during the budget impasse, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees pushed legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for workers who help the developmentally disabled with daily tasks. Providers say the current average hourly wage of $9.35 has led to a staffing shortage, the closure of group homes and families without necessary assistance.
Two days prior to vetoing the bill, Rauner had acknowledged the shortage and declared that a week in September would honor these workers.
Rauner said the pay hike would cost the state an additional $330 million a year and doesn't provide any way to cover the added expense.
"We should first acknowledge the difficult and important work of these professionals, who assist persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in residential and day programs," Rauner said. "Many of these professionals have not had a wage increase in years. I am open to finding a responsible way to increase wages for these professionals, but unfortunately this bill is not the answer."
Rauner also vetoed a bill that would've expanded eligibility requirements for low-income families to receive child care.
"I'm disappointed that the governor chose to turn his back on parents working to give their children a better life," said Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, who sponsored the bill.
Rauner said such a large expansion could threaten the child care program because without funding to go along with it, parents could see long waitlists or be asked to pay higher copays.
"None of which would best serve the interests of the children that this legislation is intended to support," Rauner said. "The state of Illinois can no longer make spending promises that exceed available revenues."