The state is more than $1 billion short when it comes to keeping some services afloat through the rest of the fiscal year. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is warning that Illinois is on track to run out of appropriations for services, and is urging state leaders to act before the “situation becomes a crisis.” She estimates that more than $1 billion in supplemental funding is needed to prevent interruption of payments for services utilized by senior citizens, children and special needs residents.
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Topinka recommends that state agencies create reserve funds from financially-sound programs to offset the cost. “We know today that many of our programs and agencies will run out of authorized funding months before the end of the fiscal year,” Topinka said. “We need to end the denial and address those budget shortfalls before they jeopardize critical services that our residents depend on.”
Programs and agencies at risk include:
Community care and home services programs that assist senior citizens and people with disabilities in home-based settings. The Department of Aging funding is under-appropriated by an estimated $200 million.
Department of Children and Family Services, which has requested an additional $25 million to avoid layoffs that would include service workers.
Workers compensation, which has requested an additional $82 million.
Health Insurance Reserve Fund, which has exhausted its appropriation and requires $900 million.
With the state already saddled with an estimated bill backlog of more than $9 billion, Topinka stresses that any supplemental spending legislation should include a revenue source. Specifically, she proposed that lawmakers require financially-sound agencies to reserve funds to turn back to the state at the end of the fiscal year.