Illinois Budget Crisis
Dwindling revenue, cash flow problems and unbalanced budgets are some of the factors that have contributed to unparalleled delay payments and serious threat to some of the most vital services in Illinois. Estimates carried out recently have projected the state is facing a deficit of $11.5 billion which is threatening all services throughout the state.
The state has received funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act yet despite this fact it is still projected to have an $ 8.5-9.5 billion deficit which is getting worse. In simple terms, this means that it is not possible for the lawmakers in Illinois to cut one third of the budget in the state without slashing healthcare and education which take up at least 97% of the spending in the state and it is not in the best interest of the state to do this.
Communities throughout the state have also been hit hard by the economic crisis. The state is witnesses closing and greatly under-funded schools, community health clinics that are shutting down and an increased number of families applying for food stamps. All these factors are indicators of the budget crisis the state is going through.
Currently, Illinois has:
- The 8th lowest spending level in the country
- The lowest state workers number per capita
- The 5th lowest tax burden
The budget crisis makes it apparent that the tax system in Illinois is in dire need of major reforms. If any reforms are to be carried out, they should be sustainable in order to ensure the state does not go back to the same state.
Due to the budget crisis, budget cuts would mean the following for the Illinois families:
- Cutting at least one third of the budget would translate to 56,057 teachers
- Elimination of regional superintendents and their assistants and other incentives such as the School Breakfast Incentive program, Early Childhood Education, the Illinois Free Lunch and Breakfast Program as well as Driver Education and Advanced Placement Program which would save $450 million. While this would be 4.5% cut of the education budget, it would not help in balancing the budget.
- Cuts to Medicaid will have a ripple effect through the entire health care system in Illinois. One third cut would translate to cutting 7,000 nursing home workers throughout the state which would translate to fewer caregivers and 40,000 hospital workers
- Home spending must be cut as well by one third meaning 17,000 seniors would be removed from the Community Care program for the seniors.
State parks, state employees, colleges and universities would also be affected by budget cuts aimed at solving the Illinois budget crisis.
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