Illinois Nonprofits at Risk in Budget Standoff; Urge State’s Political Leadership to Get It Together

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June 30, 2015; Progress Illinois

When politicians are deadlocked and unable to compromise, everyone suffers.  The fallout over a failure to agree on spending hits non-profits, which disproportionately rely on public funding, particularly hard, as the situation in Illinois illustrates.

Some 300 Illinois non-profits joined forces and urged the state’s governor and legislature this past week to “work together to pass a fair, adequate and fully-funded” budget before the new fiscal year starts.  That obviously did not happen as of July 1.

The plea came in the form of a letter, according to Progress Illinois, a website covering state politics, funded by the Service Employees Union International, which has a big stake in both state government and the non-profit sector.  Non-profit leaders are concerned over the budget uncertainty and the possible layoffs and service reductions if a state spending plan is not adopted.

“Lacking direction from state agencies, nonprofits have no idea how much state funding they can expect or when that funding might begin,” the letter reads. “As a result, nonprofits across the state have no choice but to contemplate and, in some cases execute, plans to terminate services, lay off staff, and close service sites . . . If the state defaults on its responsibility to provide nonprofits with some level of fiscal certainty and adequate funding so that they can operate using sound business practices, we all pay the price in the short- and long-term.”

Illinois’ Republican governor and Democratic leaders are deadlocked over a budget for the 2016 fiscal year. The government faces at least a partial government shutdown beginning this month.—Larry Kaplan

  • Jennifer Smith

    The enormity and impact of this crisis cannot be overstated. DCFS has already begun laying off workers and nonprofit human service agencies have begun closing their doors. Even when a budget is passed, the potential for evisceration of human services is very high. Meanwhile, our governor spends his personal fortune on attack ads against legislative leadership.
    There is no silver bullet to address the behemoth that is the IL pension crisis. Everyone is going to suffer and the breadth and depth of that suffering will only increase as our representatives continue to kick the can down the road. Please help support collaborative advocacy groups such as Progress Illinois and Illinois Partners for Human Service who lend a unified voice for the agencies that serve the least of these in our state. Thank you for helping get the word out.