Quinn Responds to Smaller Budget with Facility Closures
Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
Governor Quinn has taken over three months to realize the 2012 budget he approved requires thoughtful spending reductions especially in the personnel line items. In response he recently announced decisions to lay off more than 1,900 state employees and close seven facilities including Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford and Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon.
Some feel the governor has targeted the most vulnerable populations for state services to blackmail the legislature into more borrowing and continuing the overspending budgets of the last decade.
There is no question that Illinois needs to look at additional ways to cut spending. We are not only using outdated state facilities, but also outdated care models that ignore using community based care for appropriate clients. Many of us have suggested ways to cut spending without laying off more people, more economical operating procedures, and ways to stimulate business that result in increased revenue to operate government.
At the very least there needs to be a well- planned transition from state facilities that helps clients adjust to living in more independent settings. We also need to identify appropriate community facilities and care givers. Such transitions take more than the few months that the governor proposes.