IL budget stalemate over; damage could last years

VIENNA, IL (KFVS) - With the nation's longest state budget stalemate since the Great Depression, Friday was the start of a new direction for the Illinois government with its first full-fledged budget plan in more than two years.

Agencies that rely on state funding are celebrating, but also planning for the damage-control for all the devastation that has been done.

Sherrie Crabb, the executive director of Family Counseling Service, that took a 30 percent pay cut to keep others employed due to budget deadlock over the past years.

"Just because there is budget, doesn't mean tomorrow things are back to normal...It's going to take a while to get back to where we were two years ago," she said.

Crabb contrasts her duties moving forward along with the duties of Illinois state government.

"They've got a lot of work to do in Springfield moving forward," she said. "The damage that's been done is going to take a long time to repair."

The damage cost her agency highly trained staff and even programs like the Youth Homeless Shelter, which won't be coming back.

Right now, Crabb's top goal is to rebuild the infrastructure of the agency back up – starting with bringing back services, jobs, benefit reimbursement to staff and most importantly, find out when the money is coming from the state.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza gave this statement in regards to payments:

"Please be assured, that in the coming days, weeks, months, my office will implement this budget in way that best protects tax payers. 
Vendors will still have to wait longer than they like to be caught up on payments, but there is finally a path forward."

Crabb said they are expecting payments for FY17 and FY18, which is about $859,000 for the Family Counseling Service, just a portion of that $15 billion pie.

"We are going to take this as an optimistic step forward and try and plan and do the best that we can with it, but we know we are a long way from being out of the woods," Crabb chuckled.

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