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November 20, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Restores Funding for Substance Abuse Addiction Treatment and other Critical Services

CHICAGO – Emphasizing the state’s need to provide core services during the current economic crisis, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today acted on a supplemental appropriations bill (Senate Bill 1103) passed by the General Assembly to restore $175.9 million in funding for several reductions made earlier this year.


With the Governor’s action, funding will be available for substance abuse treatment centers, Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) frontline staff, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) reduced fare subsidy and other core services.


“On Tuesday, I announced a plan to manage the states $2 billion budget shortfall. And while difficult decisions still need to be made, we also need to ensure that we continue to provide core services to Illinoisans – that includes funding for substance abuse addiction treatment, care for persons with developmental disabilities, and funding for public transportation,” Governor Blagojevich said.


In July, the General Assembly passed a budget that was more than $2 billion out of balance, and the Governor cut $1.4 billion to manage this budget. In September, the General Assembly passed a bill to transfer funds (Senate Bill 790), as well as the supplemental appropriations bill (Senate Bill 1103) to appropriate $230.9 million in spending. In October, Governor Blagojevich signed the Senate Bill 790, but emphasized his concern regarding the state’s ability to transfer dollars out of several of the funds selected by the General Assembly.


While the state hoped to fully fund all of the priorities, certain federal funds designated in SB 790 are restricted and the federal government warned that a failure to restore them would put future federal funding in jeopardy.  Because of concern over the restricted funds, the Governor today used his line item veto power to remove $55 million in spending from the General Assembly’s supplemental appropriation.


On Tuesday, Governor Blagojevich announced a four-part plan to manage the state’s $2 billion fiscal year 2009 budget deficit. The Governor’s proposed plan includes passage of the Emergency Budget Act, which would give the Governor and other constitutional officers added authority to help them make additional cuts, a request to Congress for increased federal stimulus aid, and further administrative reductions in the agencies. In addition to these budget solutions, the Governor is also proposing short-term borrowing which will help manage the state’s cash flow and pay providers in a more timely matter.


Illinois is not alone in facing a FY09 budget shortfall due to lower than projected revenues. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that California faces an $11 billion shortfall and is concerned about paying bills this spring, New York has proposed $5.2 billion in “savings,” and Ohio may need a federal loan to cover unemployment costs. In total, 31 states and the District of Columbia are facing mid-year budget gaps, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


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