SPRINGFIELD – Presenting her FY 2018 budget proposal Tuesday, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza offered the lowest request for an appropriation level for the Illinois State Comptroller's Office in 20 years.
“I was troubled when, earlier in the session, we saw agency directors unwilling to identify a single cut to their budgets before your appropriations committee,” Mendoza told members of the State Senate Appropriations II Committee. “I take the idea of shared sacrifice and accountability very seriously. I think it is the responsibility of every agency head, director and manager to identify whatever [General Revenue Fund] savings may exist. We're prepared to lead that effort with the budget we present today.”
The savings will be accomplished through a combination of headcount management, operational savings, carpooling, stronger travel reimbursement policies and other cost-saving strategies.
Mendoza warned senators that without a budget, the state’s most vulnerable would suffer even more.
“It’s the most vulnerable in this state. Since I took office in December, we’ve had to prioritize folks like nursing homes, hospice care … Many of those bills had not been paid since July of that year. So you’re talking about some of the frailest, most vulnerable people, who are literally on death’s doorstep, having to wait six or seven months to be paid. I find that unacceptable, and so we’ve tried to prioritize those most vulnerable populations.”
She highlighted social service providers like Ashley’s Quality Care, which provides in-home care to seniors in the Chicago area and is now on the brink of closure, and the Well’s Center in Jacksonville, which has provided substance abuse treatment for decades. “They should have been celebrating their 50th anniversary of service to the people of Central and Southern Illinois but instead have just announced the closure of their business as a result of no budget,” she said of the Wells Center. “It’s not a false alarm. Literally people are dying and are going to die in large numbers in this state if we don’t get a budget now.”
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