On April 22, the Senate passed an amendment to Senate Bill 274 that authorizes Gov. Rauner to transfer $26 million from special state funds to restore grant funding for public health and social service programs.
Grants that pay for programs such as funerals and burials of public-assistance recipients, smoking cessation, teen programs, autism and HIV and AIDS programs were suspended in early April. Providers strenuously opposed the cuts, which they said would have a devastating impact on their ability to provide important services. In response, Senate lawmakers agreed to give Gov. Rauner the authority to restore these funds.
As amended, Senate Bill 274 gives Gov. Rauner emergency budget-making powers to transfer up to $26 million from 105 specified special funds, with the exclusion of the Road Fund, Motor Fuel Tax Fund, and State Construction Account Fund.
While Senate Republicans agree that fixing Illinois’ budget woes will require making difficult, undesirable decisions, they also stress the importance of properly funding programs that provide vital resources for children’s health, addiction prevention and treatment and autism programs. Senate Republicans emphasized that moving forward, lawmakers must push for balanced, common-sense budgets that emphasize planning for the future, and avoid the type of short-term thinking that leads to crisis-budgeting, which places important social service programs at risk.
Senate Bill 274 passed the Senate 57-1-0 and awaits further consideration in the House.