Wednesday, October 17, 2012
DCFS Gambles On More Funds Instead Of Layoffs
By delaying layoffs, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is betting that lawmakers will restore some of the department’s funding when they return in November for their veto session. But if the money is not approved, personnel cuts could be even deeper.
DCFS announced last week that it would not move ahead with 375 layoffs that the department had said were necessary because of budget cuts. In the meantime, targeted workers will be paid out of a budget that does not include the money to cover their wages. If lawmakers do not approve a supplemental appropriation when they return for the veto session, DCFS could face a major budget shortfall at the end of the calendar year. "If there is no supplemental, I will have spent $19,646,000 that I was not appropriated as of the end of this year,” DCFS Director Richard Calica told lawmakers.
However, the supplemental appropriation seems to be far from a done deal. Chicago Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, who chairs the human services budgeting committee in the House, said her committee expects DCFS to justify every cent of what it is asking for. “We want to make sure that when we restore money, that we are actually solving some looming problems that have not been resolved.”
Meanwhile House Republicans have accused Quinn of dragging his feet on cost saving Medicaid reforms and may be less than cooperative when it comes to putting “yes” votes on any supplemental appropriations bills during the veto session. “Until the Quinn administration gets serious about implementing our Medicaid reform laws, House Republicans will oppose attempts by the governor to spend additional money,” said a written statement from House Minority Leader Tom Cross’ office.
Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans, who chairs one of two Senate budget committees, said she favors approving more funding for DCFS during the veto session. However, she voiced concerns over the the department's gamble."There’s a big risk to the department by not taking action now because there’s no guarantee that we’re going to get the supplemental.”
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/dcfs-gamble-on-more-funding-could.html