Governor Pritzker announced yesterday his full budget proposal for the State of Illinois for Fiscal Year 2023. At a time when people with all types of disabilities have been deeply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and years of state fiscal challenges, Access Living commends the Governor and his team for their extended commitment to improve the State’s financial health and livability for all Illinois residents.
The proposed budget recognizes the need to grow and improve options for community living for disabled people, and to ensure accountability for the dangerous lack of oversight in many congregate settings, like nursing homes, which has tragically led to the deaths of thousands of people with disabilities and seniors.
We are pleased that the Governor recognizes that inflation, the state’s history of financial instability, and the pandemic have made life harder for the 2.3 million people with disabilities across Illinois. The current status quo is indeed untenable, and we are glad to see clear, intentional action towards financial stabilization, and in particular, human services workforce investment.
As legislators work with the Governor to create the final budget package, we urge a watchful eye to ensure that people with disabilities will benefit from all increased investment and new opportunities. From continuing to improve accessibility of the built environment and state programs, to implementing better mental health services and supports, we challenge the State to use budget dollars wisely in reaching the most underserved people with disabilities across our state who too often are overlooked.
As pleased as we are to see the Governor propose a data informed budget, we are concerned that many with disabilities simply aren’t adequately represented in the data collection in the first place. We also know that not all budget dollars appropriated for human services in the past have been fully spent, resulting in a loss of some federal match dollars. We urge the State to bring together effective use of facts and dollars to create maximum impact.
We look forward to working with the Governor’s office and our legislators to make Illinois an equitable and livable state for every person with a disability.