Governor Pat Quinn released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013 on February 22. The Governor will now work with the General Assembly to craft a budget that can gain a majority of votes in both chambers by the May 31 deadline. Low-income people and their advocates have much at stake, and perhaps more to lose, than in any previous session of the legislature.
There is a lot to be concerned about in the Governor’s proposed budget. Most troubling is his call for $2.7 billion in unspecified cuts to the Medicaid program. Such savings cannot be achieved without doing severe harm to health care for the poor. We’ll have much more to say about this in a future post.
The proposed budget also includes major cuts to the child care assistance program, home visiting programs, community care programs, and emergency and transitional housing. Also it would reduce lifetime eligibility for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program from five to three years.
On the plus side, the proposed budget would significantly increase funding for the Preschool for All and TANF programs.
The Heartland Alliance has issued this release, which gives an excellent description of the threats posed to poor people by the proposed state budget.