Posted: November 9, 2011 by lactoselazy in IDOC, IL in Fiscal Ruins
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New plan forms to keep state facilities open, for now

November 10, 2011

Illinois lawmakers reject Quinn’s closure plans

The formal IL Fall Veto Session has ended. There will be another session extension on November 29, 2011, for consideration of other major issues still outstanding, but Quinn and legislators appear to be avoiding closing the 7 state facilities. This is good news to many: Quinn is starting to be more flexible and realistic. Critics and advocates have pointed out too many flaws in the Quinn administration’s plans to close the state facilities and layoff 1900 employees. Quinn’s original plans were drawn up as just a tactic to try and pressure the legislature into approving a supplemental appropriation for the budget. The plan provisions for closure and relocating individuals served by these facilities were just too hasty without much consideration about their implementation. Quinn’s new plan may still be bad, but at least there will be time for more review and changes. It seems that it will take until January to work the details of funding out, but, if approved, these seven facilities will at least be funded thru the end of June 2012.

Some of these facilities (or others) may still end up on the chopping block because there is the widespread recognition that the state cannot afford to keep all facilities open and that it will, at some point, have to consolidate or eliminate some services. Quinn’s new position will still need legislative approval and consensus, but will allow time in the next few years for careful planning to minimize danger to state clients.

New budget plan may avert closures, layoffs

BY KURT ERICKSON, The Southern Springfield Bureau | Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 1:00 pm | from

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Pat Quinn has floated a retooled budget plan that could avert more than 1,900 layoffs and the closure of seven state facilities.

As part of an 11th-hour budget agreement being brokered with lawmakers, Quinn instead would agree to close four state developmental centers and two mental health facilities within the next 2 ½ years.

It remained unclear Wednesday whether a deal could be approved before the end of the fall veto session Thursday.

Under the governor’s new proposal, the Department of Human Services would reduce the number of residents served by state-operated developmental centers by at least 600. That would allow the agency to close up to four of the state’s eight developmental centers by the summer of 2014.

An outline of the proposal did not identify which facilities, including centers in Anna, Dwight, Dixon and Centralia, may be on the future chopping block.

The new plan also calls for the closure of two unidentified state psychiatric hospitals by mid-2014.

The proposal would at least temporarily end Quinn’s threat to close Logan Correctional Center and the youth prison in Murphysboro.

For state Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, the potential deal could be a double-edged sword. Although the Murphysboro youth center could be spared, it could put the Choate Developmental Center in Anna in the cross-hairs for future closure.

“It’s frustrating. This has been the way Quinn works. He tests the wind and then changes his mind. We need a leader,” Bost said.

The revamped closure plan doesn’t specifically address other cuts made by Quinn in reaction to the budget he was handed by lawmakers in May.

Regional school superintendents, for example, were still pushing for legislation Wednesday allowing them to get paid for the first time since July.

Funds to reimburse hospitals and school districts for various costs also remained in limbo with one day left before lawmakers leave town for the year.

It appeared Quinn’s decision to cut money for school transportation costs may stand, leaving local districts scrambling to pay for busing.

“There’s not a lot of support for education in the negotiating room,” said state Rep. Will Davis, D-Chicago.

The new plan was being circulated a day before a legislative panel is scheduled to meet to vote on Quinn’s recommendation to close Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Jacksonville Development Center and the Tinley Park Mental Health Center.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability last month voted to reject Quinn’s plan to close mental health centers in Chester and Rockford, a developmental center in Dixon and the juvenile lock-up in Murphysboro.

Although the commission’s recommendation is non-binding, the governor has never gone against the commission’s recommendations.

(Kurt Erickson can be reached at or 217-782-4043)

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