Rauner Reverses "Good Friday Cuts"
A top official with Gov. Bruce Rauner's office confirms, Illinois will restore $26 million in funding for a tobacco quitline, programs for autistic children and other social service grants. Projections show the state is taking in more money than expected. While some cuts will remain, the windfall frees up money to reverse the cuts Rauner made with little warning on Good Friday, in early April.
The news has Joanne Guthrie-Gard beaming -- one of those "couldn't wipe it off her face" smiles. "I'm ecstatic. I'm so excited," she says.
Guthrie-Gard's 23-year-old daughter has epilepsy, and she credits the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago for its support. An epilepsy grant was among those cut just before Easter; he says the state didn't have the money.
Guthrie-Gard's been coming to the Capitol since. First in protest; then gratified when senators pushed through a deal that could have restored the money; only for that plan to stall.
"Let me put it this way. I think we've experienced whiplash about four times in the last three weeks," Guthrie-Gard said Thursday afternoon at the statehouse, on yet another advocacy trip.
The Rauner aide says no more cuts are coming this budget year. But that ends in June. And much deeper cuts are possible for next year.
A bipartisan deal passed to fill a $1.6 billion fiscal hole for this year relied on sweeps of special state funds and a separate round of cuts that reduced agencies' funding by 2.25-percent (the has resulted in fewer Monetary Award Program, or MAP, tuition waivers for low-income college students, and lower Medicaid reimbursements). The governor's office says there's no chance any of those cuts will be reversed.