Social Service Agencies Cautiously Optimistic About Budget Passing

Craig Dellimore
May 30, 2018 - 7:24 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- As the deadline for passage of a state budget looms this week, social service agencies say they are cautiously optimistic, but worried about what may come next.

Illinois Partners for Human Service represents about 800 social service organizations across the state, and Executive Director Judith Gethner said they are hearing encouraging words from their friends in the General Assembly. She said there seems to be bi-partisan sentiment for passing a budget within the next day.

"There is bi-partisan support for wanting to have a budget completed by May 31," Gethner said.

But, Governor Rauner’s proposed budget would continue substantial cuts for human services programs. Gethner is hopeful that money will be added to Governor Rauner’s original funding levels for the suffering social services.

"What I have been able to ascertain is that the members of the General Assembly have seen that and recognized it and have come forward to make it more robust for us," she said. 

The big concern, she said, is that the legislature might appropriate the money, but the Governor’s office might refuse to spend all of it, something that’s within his power to do.

"We've seen in the past, including this past year, where there was money placed in the budget. There was money appropriated for human services and not spent by the Governor. So that is the prerogative of the Governor," she said.

Gethner said the human services agencies still haven’t recovered from going two years without a budget.