Stopgap Funding is Not Enough
The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Rauner reached a compromise on a stopgap funding bill for fiscal year '16 and the first six months of fiscal year '17 on June 30, 2016--the last day of the fiscal calendar. However, the immense damage done in the past 365 days, without a state budget, will not be repaired by this stopgap bill.
Short-term relief is not enough. Illinois still needs a responsible, long-term budget solution that raises adequate revenue to prevent more cuts. This partial funding bill will only provide necessary relief to social service providers struggling to pay their bills and keep their doors open for six months. In addition, human services will only be funded at 65% of what they should have received over the 18 months covered in this plan.
A focal point of the budget deal was a K-12 and early childhood education funding increase for the entirity of the '17 fiscal year. While it is great that schools will open in the fall, the people of Illinois should not have to choose between fully funding education and fully funding other important priorities like higher education, protecting public safety, services for homeless youth, domestic violence shelters, youth summer jobs, and other vital services that people need. Human services should be adequately funded and appropriated as part of a responsible budget that includes revenue increases.
This stop-gap measure is a temporary solution that continues irresponsible crisis budgeting and puts off the real work of increasing revenue until after the November election. The only acceptable end to the Illinois budget crisis is a fully funded, full-year, responsible budget that provides sufficient revenue to stop making cuts, restore previous cuts, and invest in our communities.
The Governor and legislative leaders put non-budget agendas aside for this temporary deal. They should continue to do so and work together to reach a full year budget deal with adequate revenue.