State Budget Cuts LikelyJanuary 19, 2015
As of today, libraries should prepare themselves for the very real possibility of significant reductions in state funding, while at the same time, letting their legislators know how critical that funding is to their constituents.
In Governor Rauner's inaugural address, he highlighted Illinois' growing budget deficit. The rollback of the income tax increase, an increasing state pension debt, and a continuing operational deficit combine to create an unprecedented challenge. Without additional revenue, the state budget will need to be cut by several billion dollars in the current fiscal year (July 2014-June 2015), and likely twice as much in the next fiscal year (July 2015-June 2016).
Governor Rauner immediately halted all non-essential spending and informed state agencies that they should plan on no additional funding authority in the current fiscal year. If applied across the board, this could result in cuts of approximately 20%. Because most library grants are administered by Illinois Secretary of State/State Librarian Jesse White, they may not be directly affected, but overall budget pressures will certainly affect the Secretary's operations as well.
Specific details of the governor's intentions will be spelled out in his State Budget Address on February 18. Waiting until then to contact your elected officials may be too late. In the past, thanks to the efforts of Secretary White and ILA members, we have lessened the impact of library funding cuts and even restored most of the grant programs. ILA will keep you informed of all budget developments, but it is never too soon to remind our local elected officials of the tremendous value that comes from state-funded library grants.