Public Hearing On Better Budgeting Draws Complaints About State Budget Impasse


The Illinois Budgeting For Results Commission held a public hearing Wednesday at the University of Illinois at Springfield, in order to gather public feedback on how the state can budget its funds more efficiently.

But it appears hard to get people to focus on budgeting for results when the state is having a hard time budgeting at all.

Budgeting For Results is meant to help state spending favor the most efficient and effective programs.

Chairman Steve Schnorf began the meeting by asking people not to focus on budget shortfalls, since there's nothing he can do about that. Despite that warning, the conversation was hugely affected by the 18-month fight that’s paralyzed state budgeting.

Paul McCann is treasurer at Eastern Illinois University, where he says nearly 400 layoffs have made it harder to comply with the increasing demands of state rules and regulations — including rules associated with Budgeting for Results.

“There’s more and more for us to do, and less and less people to do it,” said McCann.

McCann says Eastern’s layoffs represent about 30 percent of the staff.

Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence director Vickie Smith is among several people who told commissioners that the state government workforce has gotten so small, it’s actually making things much LESS efficient.“I was at a meeting yesterday with people from the Department of Children and Family Services charged with protecting the most vulnerable in our state,” said Smith. “And they are so devastated that it is extremely difficult for them even to get qualified people to apply, let alone get hired."

Smith says the state officer that oversees hundreds of grants worth tens of millions of dollars for agencies her coalition represents has the equivalent of just 1 ½ employees.

The state’s Budgeting For Results Commission will hold another public hearings on Wednesday, September 7th at 1:30 pm at the James R. Thompson Center, Suite 9-040 in Chicago. The commission also accepts comments and ideas from the public oneline at its website.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio