Disability Funding Advocates Say Now is the Time for Full State Support

Disability Funding Advocates Say Now is the Time for Full State Support

Disability Funding Advocates Say Now is the Time for Full State Support (Springfield, IL)— As lawmakers head into the final weeks of their spring legislative session, advocates for Illinois’ developmental disability community say the time is now for policymakers to provide substantial new funding given the state’s improved budget picture.

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and members of the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities that serve families with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are working to make this a March that Matters for stronger state funding levels.

Advertisement
IL GOP Banner

Since 2011, Illinois has been under a court decree to provide more sustainable funding for I/DD services to the community providers. But even with a significant increase in funding last year, providers say years of underfunding and a critical workforce shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic demand more support.

IARF is leading the push for about $246 million in new state funding for Fiscal Year 2023, which begins July 1, under the proposal developed in 2020 by the state and advocates called Guidehouse. The Pritzker Administration has proposed about $95 million in new state money for next year. The main difference in the proposals involves wage levels to recruit and retain staff to meet individuals’ needs.

IARF members statewide have made far more than 1,000 contacts with state leaders and legislators already this spring and in March are sending in more emails and letters, making phone calls and sharing social media messages to encourage legislative support for full Guidehouse funding.

Advocates say their efforts have been strengthened by the state’s vastly improved budget picture. While many past budgets were weighed down by debt and revenue challenges, Gov. Pritzker has proposed a rainy day surplus fund and $1 billion in tax relief in his budget plan for next year.

“We appreciate the work Gov. Pritzker and the Legislature have done these last two years to make I/DD services a priority in the state budget. That work does not go unnoticed,” said Josh Evans, President and CEO of IARF. “But the reality is our members know we must continue to do better, because thousands of Illinois remain waiting for critical services and we simply cannot compete with fast food and other jobs at our current wage rates.

“We will spend March making it a month that matters by sharing our stories with legislators and explaining how our requested $246 million is such a wise investment in care for the I/DD community. When Illinois finally can have a real discussion about spending priorities, we expect to be at the table with a clear message: now is the time to fully support funding our needs, as the Guidehouse report outlines.”

Disability Funding Advocates Say Now is the Time for Full State Support

Advertisement
Monica Gordon for Cook County Commissioner

Related Articles

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax – In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

The Government Donald Trump Left Behind

The Government Donald Trump Left Behind – Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 following a campaign of pledges to build a wall along the border with Mexico, repeal and replace his predecessor’s signature health care legislation, “drain the swamp” of special interests in Washington, D.C., and cut through the federal government’s bureaucracy, all to “Make America Great Again.”

Responses

Your email address will not be published.