Gov. Quinn talks cuts and consolidations in budget address

Gov. Pat Quinn announced health care cuts and the closures of prisons and mental health institutions during his budget address on Wednesday afternoon.

In an attempt to reduce the record state deficit, Quinn is cutting more than 60 state facilities. Consolidations include state police forensic labs and telecommunication centers, local Department of Human Services offices and offices in the Department of Children and Family Services. Meanwhile, the Department of Corrections will face the closings of two prisons, six adult transition centers and two Juvenile Justice youth centers. Health centers will also take a hit with the closings of two mental health hospitals and two developmental disability centers.

The budget plan also includes a $2.7 billion cut towards Medicaid, which Quinn says will help to restructure the program. The spending reduction will make it necessary to reconsider how the money should be spent and who is eligible for it.

“Together, we must follow our roadmap for Medicaid restructuring to find the right combination of liability reduction, modernized eligibility standards, utilization controls, rate reduction, acceleration of integrated managed care, and coordination of long-term programs in order to properly manage our Medicaid spending,” said Quinn.

Despite the numerous budget cuts being made, Quinn is increasing funding that will support four veterans homes. He also spoke about the Hiring Veterans Tax Credit, which will seek to create jobs for Illinois veterans.

In addition, Quinn is adding $50 million dollars to the Monetary Assistance Program and $20 million to early childhood education.

“I believe in the power of education to create opportunity for everyone in our society,” said Quinn. “That is why I have maintained our basic investment in education, despite extremely hard times. I believe in early childhood education, special education, bilingual education, kindergarten to 12th grade education, community college education, and university education.”