Some Illinois lawmakers are criticizing a recent social services funding measure. They say there is too much unnecessary spending and not enough money for vital needs.
Both chambers passed $700 million in fund sweeps to pay for a variety of services.
Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said the measure doesn’t fund things like food deliveries for prisons or utility bills for various facilities and includes some unnecessary spending. Murphy said the governor should remove the pork spending and free up money for priorities.
Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, agrees.
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“I think there are a lot of things that honestly, they may be a good thing to do but they are not a priority,” Ives said. “We don’t have that luxury anymore in Illinois to just spend money on programs that we don’t understand completely.”
Ives points to funding for HIV and AIDS education, state welcoming centers for immigrants and $4 million for the YouthBuild program.
Republican House leader Jim Durkin applauded the bipartisan effort but said the bill doesn’t go far enough to cover other vital needs ranging from food for prisoners to utility costs.
Durkin said safety at the state’s prisons could become a greater concern without more funding.
“We have a situation where food is not going to be provided to the Department of Corrections, which is possible sometime this summer,” Durkin said.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson says the lack of a budget may lead to significant issues in the future but there isn’t an immediate concern. Wilson said the department is hopeful lawmakers will work with the governor to pass “much needed reforms and a balanced budget.”