State Senator Hunter: Supplemental budget increases to DHS came just in time

Springfield, ILIllinois State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) supported restoring funding to the Department of Human Service’s (DHS) Fiscal Year 2012 budget.  The increase of a couple million dollars would hold off employee layoffs and facility closures for the remaining six months of the fiscal year.  It is also paid for by shifting money from other State funds – it is not a spending increase.

“I am grateful for the leadership of my colleagues, Senators Heather Steans and Dan Kotowski, in ensuring that this pressing matter was addressed immediately and not held off until session in the spring,” Hunter said.  “Over the past year, we have held subject matter hearings and have heard from providers and patients alike how devastating massive budget cuts to human services would be to the families in Illinois. With this supplemental funding, we have given ourselves more time to find a responsible solution.”

Senate Bill 2412 restores $28.7 million to DHS to prevent layoffs and protects important services.  Other supplemental appropriations include $8 million for funeral and burial expenses, $30 million for mental health grants, $28 million for addiction treatment services, and $4.7 million to the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

Facilities like Tinley Park Mental Health Center faced closure under Governor Pat Quinn’s plan to deal with the budget shortfall in the 2012 budget.  Earlier this month, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability voted against Governor Quinn’s recommendation to close Tinley Park Health Center, and the governor rescinded his proposal.  With the passage of Senate Bill 2412, Tinley Park Health Center and the other facilities slated for closure will remain open and all employee layoffs are expected to be withdrawn. 

“In the spirit of the holiday season, I am thankful that the neediest people in Illinois will have access to the programs they so desperately depend on through the winter season,” Hunter continued.  “It has been a slow, tough battle for those of us who have been fighting for these
funding restorations, but it has been worth fighting.”