(Chicago, IL) – February 8, 2011. After several weeks of clear signals floating out of Governor Pat Quinn’s administration that substantial mid-year budget cuts were on deck for Illinois human service providers, the governor’s office has backtracked—for now.
First, the advocacy group Illinois Partners, which has been publicly sounding the budget alarm for the last week, today issued a new–but syntax-challenged–e-mail alert to its 600 members suggesting the governor’s budget knife would cut less deep.
“We shared with you our concerns about rumors of massive cuts to Human Services and our need to stave them off before supporting SB3,” wrote the group’s director, Judith Gethner. “We have been assured that Human Services will not carry the cuts on the “back” of the state.”
While the phrase “…Human Services will not carry the cuts on the “back” of the state” is hard to decipher on its own, the implication is that the governor’s office has “assured” Gethner’s group that cuts will not be, at least, “massive”. The assurance enabled the advocate group to now back Quinn’s bond borrowing plan, Senate Bill 3, which aims to pay the state’s $6.6 billion in overdue bills.
Second, staff from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget today appeared at a Illinois Senate appropriations committee hearing and claimed that unnamed administration officials “had jumped the gun” on the communication of cuts to human service providers.
Quinn Budget Director David Vaught, who apparently had no desire to serve as a political piñata, skipped the hearing, prompting the ire of some senators over the “snub”.
The Governor will deliver his budget blueprint for next year to the legislature on February 16. Lawmakers and human service groups will then get, perhaps, a clearer picture of Quinn’s intentions for the remainder of this year.