SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the latest round of budget cuts to several agencies to close the state’s $500 million budget shortfall brought on by the September terror attacks. The Governor said some child care funding cut earlier in the week had been restored and that key services to senior citizens and the disabled had been spared.
The cuts are being made without any legislative assistance and come on the heels of the third and final day of talks with the General Assembly’s four legislative caucuses. The cuts represent $109 million in gross savings through the end of fiscal year 2002. The gross amount of savings from this week’s cuts comes to more than $485 million.
The Governor has also requested that state universities voluntarily help the state cover the cost of group insurance costs for their employees.
The Governor also said every effort was made to avoid further cuts to the elderly and disabled. The latest cuts also managed to avoid layoffs. The Governor directed the Bureau of the Budget to spare the Home Services and the Community Care programs from more cuts. Those programs provide at-home care services to the disabled and to senior citizens. The Governor also announced that he restored the $7 million allocated for child care co-payments after meeting with the Coalition of Women Legislators.
The entire cost cutting effort has been performed solely by the Governor. Gov. Ryan has repeatedly indicated that participation from the General Assembly would allow the cuts to be spread more fairly across a broader set of options. But the legislature did not respond before adjourning its fall veto session today.
“Budget cuts are always a difficult, and often a heart wrenching, task,” Ryan said. “But I am gratified that today’s cuts still allow us to provide for the elderly and the disabled and that we can restore some child care funding."
Thursday’s spending adjustments address a range of cuts in a number of departments: Public Aid, Corrections, Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, Community and Commerce Affairs, EPA, State Police, Arts Council and Agriculture. Additional cost savings will be realized by requesting a voluntary two percent reserves in the budgets of state constitutional officers, and judicial and legislative agencies.