Disability Takeaways from Governor's 2024 State Budget Release


February 23, 2024 | by Amber Smock

Advocacy News: February 23, 2024

Earlier this week, 16 Access Living team members were at our State Capitol in Springfield on one of the most important Illinois legislative days of the year: Governor Pritzker’s State of the State speech and budget release. The Governor shared his key policy priorities and discussed balancing Illinois budget (see the official press release and transcript here). He was clear that this year, he has a tighter budget, long term fiscal obligations, and there are many competing demands for increased funding. 

Overall, the Governor’s proposed budget does reflect a general commitment to preserving a wide range services for people with disabilities. However, there is much more to be done to ensure that Illinois’ care infrastructure is supportive, stable and sustainable. This is just the initial proposal for the spring. At this point, state legislators will begin discussing the Governor’s proposal and debate what the final budget should look like. Over the next few months, they will need to hear from you.

A few important takeaways for our readers:

  • The Illinois Home Services Programs is proposed to see an increase of $116 million to keep up with the growth of the program
  • The Illinois Community Care Program (senior homemaker services) will see an increase of $109 million to keep up with program growth
  • Funding for Centers for Independent Living in Illinois is proposed to remain flat, no change
  • The $7.5 million for the new statewide Home Modification program to be run by the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living would be spread across at least two years, not one as originally envisioned

Rising state institution costs: We also noted that the Governor proposes to spend $434,325,900 next year on running the seven Illinois State Operated Developmental Centers (the state institutions housing people with primarily intellectual/developmental disability, with some also having behavioral/mental health disabilities). There are currently 1,472 persons institutionalized in SODCs. That means that in the next fiscal year, the State proposes to spend nearly $300,000 per person in an SODC. This is unsustainable. Illinois needs to reduce its spending on SODCs, not increase it. As an example of the ongoing problems facing the SODC system, see this article from ProPublica.

We would also like to share links to the below reaction statements from key organizations also working to serve people with disabilities and seniors in Illinois:

Let’s work together to ensure our State policymakers understand how important disability services and programs are to the overall health of our state. Stay tuned for action alerts coming up this spring! Thank you for your advocacy.