Winger votes for human services stopgap. Still more work to do.

On Thursday, Rep. Christine Winger voted to provide stopgap funding in the amount of $700 million to Illinois’ social service agencies. The measure passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate and is now headed to the Governor. Senate Bill 2038 came about after Republican and Democrat rank-and-file lawmakers joined together to craft and pass a funding mechanism for higher education two weeks earlier.

“It is important to stress that this is not a final solution and it doesn’t solve our financial woes,” warned Winger. “But, it does provide promise that continued bipartisan collaboration will yield positive results for the people of Illinois.”

If signed by the Governor, a portion of the payments due to agencies that have been providing services for nearly a year without compensation would finally be realized. Lawmakers granted legislative authority to use dollars from the Commitment to Human Services Fund that otherwise would have gone untapped.

“In the best of times, our social service agencies face daunting challenges. This year, many very well-run agencies have had to reduce their services and some have even closed their doors,” said Winger. “ They and the people they serve deserve better.”

The state continues to operate without a budget even as legislators work to craft a 2017 budget that must be in place by July 1 to prevent another stalemate. Winger is hopeful that the most recent successes will lead to resolution of the budget disputes that have been plaguing Illinois.