Interest groups were in a roar after the governor proposed his Fiscal Year 2013 budget. Quinn proposed closing and consolidating 59 facilities, including a supermax prison in Tamms and disability developmental centers in Jacksonville and Centralia, while laying off 2,200 workers.
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Donald Pannier, the father of a Jacksonville Developmental Center resident, says the governor’s plan to put these individuals in community-based homes isn’t well planned. He says his son has already spent time in community homes twice. “One case… he was sexually abused. It took 15 years for him to finally find a counselor that he could talk to. That was part of his outrage before. In another home in Pekin they couldn’t handle him properly… They called the cops. Put him in jail. That’s not solving the problem,” Pannier says.
Danny Chun, spokesman of the Illinois Hospital Association, says Illinois must proceed cautiously when fixing Medicaid this year. The governor proposed cutting $2.7 billion from Medicaid next year, which he estimates will lead to $4.6 billion in unpaid bills by the end of the fiscal year. “Our concern is if you do blunt drastic cuts overnight, all at once, you’re going to hurt people,” Chun says. Quinn says lawmakers will not go home for the summer until the problem is solved.
Ralph Martire, director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says although the budget is a step in the right direction, the approach is wrong. Illinois should not worry about its spending problem. Instead it should worry about spending too much but instead making too little. “All the other quote-unquote expenditures made by the state of Illinois that are rising over time… they really aren’t once you adjust for inflation,” he said.