041315 rt 0067CHAMPAIGN- The Illinois State Senate held a joint Appropriations I and II Committee Hearing yesterday to collect testimony about the impact the governor’s proposed budget cuts would have on the Central Illinois economy. Representatives from the University of Illinois, local health care organizations, and the cities of Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul and Danville all attended.

Under the proposal, the University of Illinois faces a 31.5 percent ($208.8 million) funding decrease. University officials testified that the cuts could hurt their ability to recruit top-tier students and staff.

“The University of Illinois is one of the largest economic drivers in the state. Forcing a 31% cut on them will not only impact Central Illinois, but the entire state. We cannot cut so much today that it hurts us tomorrow,” said State Sen. Scott Bennett.

Additionally, proposed cuts to Medicaid reimbursement rates may also have a deep impact on area hospitals.

“Presence United Samaritans Medical Center and Covenant Medical Center are truly an asset to the community – as the region’s health care delivery system and one of its largest employers. That’s why I am deeply concerned that if the governor’s proposed Medicaid cuts are implemented, our future would be threatened,” said Dr. Jared Rogers, CEO of Presence United Samaritans Medical Center and Covenant Medical Center.

Local mayors also voiced concerns about the 50 percent reduction in state funding proposed by the governor. Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul and Danville would lose $7.7 million, $3.9 million, $1.23 million and $694,000 respectively. All mayors voiced concerns about being forced to lay off first responders, like police and firefighters.

The Senate will continue to hold hearings around the state regarding the governor’s budget proposal over the upcoming weeks.

 

 
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