(Chicago, IL) — February 24, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn has personally intervened to reduce the $208 million mid-year budgets cuts slated for the Illinois Department of Department Humans Services, cuts which had threaten to eliminate 80% of the Illinois substance abuse and treatment services and wipe out other human service programs by March 15, according to an Quinn Administration source.
At a hearing of the Senate Human Services Committee scheduled for today at 10:00 a.m., called by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), it is expected that a representative of Governor Quinn’s budget office will announce that the cuts are being reduced to $90 million and that the reductions will be spread around more equitably within DHS to prevent the wholesale elimination of services, a move which had enraged Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike.
Since DHS Secretary Michelle Saddler had informed substance abuse treatment providers on Friday that all state, non-Medicaid funding would be eliminated by March 15, providers around the state had started to freeze new client intakes ordered by the courts and other referrals and shutdown existing detoxification services, leaving thousands of clients suddenly adrift.
Yesterday, nearly two dozen House lawmakers had signed on to a House Resolution, HR 106, including State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), State Rep. Jim Watson (R-Jacksonville), State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), State Rep. Chad Hays (R-Catlin), which calls on Quinn to halt the implementation of the 80% budget to the state’s drug treatment system.
“The legislature recognizes that all state services must face funding reductions to put our fiscal house in order,” said Feigenholtz at a Springfield press conference yesterday, who sponsored the resolution. “Such budget cuts should be fair and balanced and thoughtfully considered, but Governor Quinn’s cuts to drug treatment fail to meet that criteria.”
Quinn–and his staff–apparently got the message.