Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Quinn rolls out more budget cuts

By Jamey Dunn

Gov. Pat Quinn has made more budget cuts that he claims will get the state to the $1.4 billion reduction goal he laid out in July.

This time around, there was no news conference or public question-and-answer period. Instead, the new $891 million in planned reductions were posted to the administration’s budget website. (Note: The cuts listed here reflect the reductions made from the budget the General Assembly sent Quinn, not the plan Quinn presented in July.)

“These plans illustrate the $1.4 billion in cost reductions from [fiscal year 2010] that will be achieved in [FY 2011]. During the July news conference, the $1.4 billion in reductions was announced, but the Governor mentioned that many of those details would still be forthcoming,” Kelly Kraft, spokeswoman for Quinn’s Office of Management and Budget, said in a written statement.

Here are the differences in some of the numbers released for agencies in July and the new cuts:

  • K-12 education would take a $311 million cut, as opposed to the $241 million previously announced. The total budget would be $6.99 billion. The plan includes $146 million in cuts to transportation grants, up from an $84 million reduction, and a $3 million cut in the State Board of Education’s operating budget, up from $2.1 million.
  • Higher education would see a $105 million hit instead of the $100 million presented in July. Universities would be cut $85 million, community colleges would see a $14 million reduction and $9 million would come from from Illinois Student Assistance Commission grants other than Monetary Assistance Program grants.
  • The Department of Children and Family Services saw budget cuts jump up from a $6 million to $34.5 million. The description accompanying the new cuts on its website says, “The budget allows the Department of Children and Family Services to meet court-mandated service levels.”
  • The Department of Human Services would take a $576 million cut instead of the previous $312.6 million. The new reductions would mean a $60.3 million cut from operations, which would affect state psychiatric hospitals and developmental centers. Quinn pitched a $49.8 million reduction in July. Grants for non-Medicaid mental health and developmental disability programs would see a $515.7 million reduction, up sharply from the $262.8 million in cuts rolled out last month.
  • The Department on Aging would see a $28.4 million cut, instead of the $17.4 million proposed last month.
  • Healthcare and Family Services was the only agency that would have seen an increase in the plan Quinn presented at the beginning of the fiscal year: $162 million geared toward keeping some Medicaid providers on a 30-day cycle. The new numbers show a $216 million cut.
  • The Department of Veterans' Affairs would nearly maintain an $8 million increase proposed in July. Under the new plan, $8.2 million would go to operations, mostly to increase staffing levels at veterans’ homes, and $400,000 would be cut from grants.
Kraft left the door open to future budget tweaks, saying Quinn would work with agencies throughout the fiscal year to implement the budget and find efficiencies.


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