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.