Comptroller Munger: Early Intervention
payments will be made.
Comptroller, DHS agree EI
services fall under active consent decree. Comptroller Leslie
Geissler Munger announced Wednesday that her office is
setting up accounts and will immediately begin making payments to
Early Intervention providers as soon as it receives vouchers from the
Department of Human Services (DHS).
Munger learned from her
Nonprofit Advisory Council last week that Early Intervention services
were "slipping through the cracks" of consent decrees requiring
payments during the budget impasse, and she contacted DHS officials to
discuss what payment options were available. After looking more
closely at several active consent decrees, DHS and the Comptroller
agreed that Early Intervention services were covered and they
immediately began setting up the processes for making payments to
"I know the tremendous benefits that Early
Intervention services can provide to our delayed and disabled infants
and toddlers, and I was extremely concerned when I learned many
providers would likely be suspending their vital therapeutic services
at the end of this month," Munger said. "My office is working today to
set up the accounts and we will immediately begin making payments to
Early Intervention providers as soon as we receive vouchers from DHS
so we can avoid further hardships."
providers, who work on development strategies with disabled infants
and toddlers, are the latest group in a growing list of organizations
to be penalized by the ramifications of the budget impasse, now in its
third month. Munger announced last week that the current $6.2 billion
bill backlog is expected to grow to $8.5 billion by the end of
December if the impasse continues.
"It is time for members of
the General Assembly to sit down with the Governor to find common
ground and pass a balanced budget so we can fund our critical
priorities," Munger said.
Other states besides Illinois have
also not passed a working budget for current fiscal
as of Monday, September 14, without a twelve-month budget include
Alabama, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Large, urbanized states such as Illinois and Pennsylvania are proving
to be especially vulnerable to budget pressures, especially when the
Governor’s office and the state legislature are in separate
In both Illinois and Pennsylvania, Republicans have proposed
significant reductions in State spending trajectories and the
so-called “structural deficit,” and their proposals have been rejected
by Democrats. Long-term spending pressures, especially in urbanized
states, tend to be driven by Medicaid health care costs, pay and
benefits for public-sector workers, and the costs of taking care of a
chronologically older and slower-growing population
Energy – Nuclear Power Owner of
Illinois’ 11 operating nuclear reactors ponders their future.
The generating stations are located in Braidwood, Byron,
Clinton, Dresden, LaSalle County, and the Quad Cities. While more
than 40% of Illinois’ electrical power is generated from
uranium-powered nuclear reactors, this energy source has been
threatened by drops in the price of natural gas; ever-increasing
mandates on operating nuclear power plants; and continuing uncertainty
about the storage of used, irradiated fuel units following the end of
their operating cycles.
These considerations bear heaviest on Exelon’s sole Illinois
single-reactor plant, the Clinton
Power Station in DeWitt County. Located north of Decatur, the
1,078-megawatt Downstate reactor is licensed to operate until
September 2028; but the plant was labeled “economically challenged” by
Exelon in a policy announcement released on Thursday, September 10.
In the same announcement,
Exelon stated that it plans to continue to operate two other Illinois
reactor complexes, Byron and Quad Cities, through at least May
Exelon has asked the Illinois General Assembly to consider changing
electric rates to benefit continued operation of nuclear power
plants. The rate changes, which the company asserts follow policy
moves already granted by Illinois and other states to firms that erect
wind turbines and generate wind power, are described by Exelon as a
way to level the playing field for all forms of clean energy.
The Clinton plant, which is especially threatened at this time,
sells electricity into the Midcontinent
Independent System Operator network of high-tension power lines.
This network is also getting power offers from newly-built wind farms
and from generators powered with natural gas. Exelon has stated that
the Clinton reactor plant is responsible for 600 direct and indirect
Central Illinois jobs, with paychecks totaling $50 million
Illinois State Lottery General
Assembly investigates Illinois State Lottery, finds diminishment in
Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) found
that in FY15 (ended June 30, 2015), transfers to State funds from the
Lottery dropped by $125 million from transfers in FY14. This was the
first such decline since 2009. Most of this diminishment was borne by
the Capital Projects Fund, as surplus Lottery profits are allocated to
State and local infrastructure. The Capital Projects Fund received
$145 million in FY14 and just $8 million in FY15, resulting in
slowdowns in the release of funds for a wide variety of State-funded
capital projects including school construction projects.
Press accounts of the CGFA report were, in some cases, slightly
misleading. Some of the news stories presented the drop in Illinois State
Lottery profits as a red-ink number rather than a diminished black-ink
number. The State Lottery is currently highly vulnerable to bad
publicity, as in the absence of an FY16 budget it is legally barred
from paying out prizes greater than $25,000. Winners of large prizes
are being presented with Lottery IOUs rather than cash, and litigation
The CGFA report, “Wagering in Illinois: 2015” was released on
Thursday, September 17.
Smoke-Free Law – Beer Gardens New
administrative rule tries to crack down on enclosed smoking, adds to
The Smoke-Free Illinois Act, enacted in 2007, is aimed
at reducing involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke. Language in the
law forbids smoking tobacco indoors in public places, including casino
floors, bars and taverns. Some bars and taverns have opened “beer
gardens” in which patrons are allowed to smoke.
New administrative rules from the Illinois Department of Public Health are meant to
clarify the situations in which outdoor smoking will be allowed. Many
tavern owners and operators report being confused and challenged by
the new rules and say that they are getting legal
advice that indicates that full compliance with the new rules could
completely end smoking in beer gardens. A push has begun to
scrutinize and possibly modify the new rules.