- Published: 08 March 2017
SPRINGFIELD – Even after cutting programs for AIDS, prostate cancer and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the Illinois Department of Public Health still would need to cut an additional $20 million in programs to help balance the governor’s proposed budget, state senators learned Tuesday.
“I’m stunned Gov. Rauner didn’t consult with his own public health director about cuts to vital programs that would be needed to balance his own budget plan,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), chairwoman of the Senate’s Public Health Committee.
“Every state agency across the board would need to cut spending by 20 percent to achieve the balanced budget the governor wants. Those kinds of cuts in public health would have dire consequences, and people deserve to know what those cuts could be.”
Members of the Public Health Committee heard from Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah, who identified $3.85 million in cuts – far less than the reductions needed to achieve the savings Gov. Rauner requires. Shah told the panel he could cut $3 million from the AIDS drug assistance program, $143,000 from a prostate cancer awareness fund, $470,000 from the University of Illinois-Chicago and $240,000 from the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome awareness program.
The governor’s budget proposal includes $115 million for public health.
“Gov. Rauner has been begging lawmakers to give him the authority to make line-item budget cuts. Clearly, he’s not up to the task,” Van Pelt said.
Shah agreed to return to the committee next week with a list of $23 million in public health department cuts required to balance the governor’s proposed budget.