Bruce Rauner

Illinois Agencies Recovering a Year After Budget Impasse

A year after Illinois lawmakers ended a historic state budget impasse, social service agencies and other providers hardest hit by funding cuts say they're just starting to recover.

The providers said some rate increases approved in fiscal 2018 and 2019 isn't enough to undo all the damage, The Springfield State Journal-Register reported.

"There are definitely less services," said Judith Gethner, executive director of Chicago-based Illinois Partners for Human Service.

The impasse led to layoffs and those positions haven't been filled, Gethner said.

Gethner said the crisis has also left many nonprofits leery about spending to replace employees or restore programs. She said many of the organizations are having issues recruiting qualified professionals, who are willing to work in such an environment.

"We are finding ourselves stretched in a really horrific way," Gethner said.

Lawmakers resolved the impasse with a 32 percent income-tax increase, which passed over Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto. Illinois' overall backlog of bills stands at nearly $6.4 billion, according to the state comptroller's office.

"We thank the providers for their efforts during that difficult time," said Meghan Powers, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

"Once a budget was passed, we worked as quickly as possible to pay providers for services that were delivered under their contracts ... We know that providers were impacted by the impasse, and we continue to help any providers that are still feeling lingering effects from that period however we can."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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