Home care agencies may have to shut down or cut many of their services due to the budget impasse, with Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers each trying to pin the blame on the other.
One such agency is Family Home Services in Chicago, which says it’s owed more than $1 million by the state for services provided to seniors and people with disabilities since the start of the fiscal year.
Agency director Marsha Holmes said services have continued due to lines of credit that now have been exhausted.
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“Without a budget or influx of state payments, we may be forced to close our doors. We don’t want to do that,” Holmes said.
Holmes said she faults both Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers for not agreeing on a budget, but Democratic lawmakers at the news conference put the blame on Rauner.
State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt said funding services like home care at levels comparable to prior fiscal years would be possible by increasing the individual income tax rate above its current level of 3.75 percent, but below its former level of 5 percent.
“So no, I don’t think that we need a big tax increase, maybe less than 1 percent across the board for corporations and individuals could give us enough money to take care of the services,” Van Pelt said.
State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) then added “the only possible solution is bringing in more money. Republicans know that, Democrats know that, the governor knows that, the speaker knows that.”
But Rauner’s office contended Democrats are to blame for the loss of funding to home care providers.
“Sen. Van Pelt and Rep. Guzzardi know very well that Family Home Services could be fully funded tomorrow if they and Mike Madigan placed a higher priority on Family Home Services than defending the out-of-control, job-killing power of special interests,” said Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly in a statement. “While Governor Rauner stands ready to pass job-creating legislation and fund Family Home Services, Sen. Van Pelt, Rep. Guzzardi and Mike Madigan want special interests to keep their power at the expense of Family Home Services.”