Human services funding clears both chambers

Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to provide $714 million to human services programs. The legislation was aimed at providing stopgap funding to help keep struggling services and providers keep their doors open.

Senate Bill 2038 spends $456.8 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund, a special fund that collected a percentage of revenue from the 2010 income tax hike. The remaining balance comes from several other miscellaneous state funds, but the entire package is based on existing revenue.

The Illinois Senate had previously passed a smaller version of the appropriation, but more funding was added when the bill moved from the House. During debate, Republicans raised important questions about the bill, asking why no money was included for operations. They pointed out funding is needed for essential operations, like utilities, maintenance, food, etc. Senate GOP lawmakers noted this operations funding is not only critical to mental health facilities, but to correctional facilities in all regions of the state. They also expressed concerns about language in the bill that could potentially hold up some of the intended spending.

A number of Senate Republican legislators also questioned why similar legislation to help fund higher education hadn’t been acted on by the House.

SB2038 now heads to the governor for his signature.

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