BY MARK BROWN – CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Things are getting worse by the day no matter what gov says in address
Nomatter what Gov. Bruce Rauner tells the General Assembly on Wednesday, the state of the State of Illinois is bad and getting worse. Let us review. As of Dec. 31, state government’s backlog of unpaid bills had reached $ 6.6 billion— on target to hit $ 9 billion by June 30.
That doesn’t include another $ 5.3 billion in expenses the state is accruing for services for which it has contracted but which can’t even be submitted for payment until the Legislature approves a budget.
As a result of the state’s failure to enact a budget and pay its bills, one of Illinois’ largest social service providers announced lastweek it is closing 30 programs and eliminating 750 jobs.
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois said the job cuts, which amount to 43 percent of its work force, were necessary because the agency is owed $ 6 million by the state and can’t continue to borrow to meet its obligations.
The cuts will eliminate services to 4,700 people who rely on the agency for everything from senior home care to adult drug and alcohol treatment.
Potentially not far behind is Catholic Charities of Chicago, which says it is owed $ 16 million by the state— an amount that grows by $ 2million each month.
“As anyone can comprehend, $ 2 million per month is an unsustainable amount,” Catholic Charities acknowledged in a press release Monday. “With no end in sight to the budget impasse, we may soon be forced tomake incredibly difficult decisions that could include closing programs.”
Most of the state’s other big social service agencies are in the same boat but have been loath to complain publicly.