By Todd Wineburner with Nick Gale
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says a supplemental appropriation of nearly a billion dollars is needed to keep services for seniors and children solvent through the end of the fiscal year. Topinka says the current rate of spending isn't sustainable, and that lawmakers and state officials need to take action now to avoid a crisis later.
Topinka says that financially solvent agencies should create reserve funds to offset future costs. She adds that denial is a problem in Illinois, and that budget shortfalls have to be recognized and addressed before critical services are interrupted because of budget constraints.
Some of the programs in jeopardy include home services for seniors and those with disabilities. The Department of Children and Family Services says they'll be forced to lay off caseworkers without an additional 25 million dollars, and the state's workers' compensation system has requested an additional 82 million dollars. The Health Insurance Reserve Fund has already exhausted its appropriation for the fiscal year and needs 900 million dollars.
Given the state's already grim financial situation, Topinka says lawmakers should make sure that a funding source is included in any supplmental funding legislation.