Share & Connect
The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) and the Social IMPACT Research Center released a new analysis that highlights how large cuts to human services, which provide supports for some of the most vulnerable people in the state, will send shockwaves through the state’s economy.
The new research, entitled Ramifications of State Budget Cuts to Human Services: Increases Job Loss, Decreases economic Activity, Harms Vulnerable Populations, shows these cuts could result in nearly 4,000 lost jobs and a $458.5 million loss to Illinois’s economy.
While budget discussions are just beginning, the three year budget projection issued by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget as part of the new Budgeting for Results process indicates that the human services budget area will receive a significant cut of $350 million dollars from Financial Year2012 to Financial Year 2013.
Faced with cuts of this magnitude, human services providers will reduce hours, lay off staff, close facilities, or do all of these things. Not only does this impact thousands of Illinoisans who rely on these programs, but the cuts will have a direct economic consequence on the state.
Since most human services are delivered by private, nonprofit businesses, the vast majority of the economic effects will land on the private sector. When organizations providing human services must cut programs and reduce services, these actions ripple through the economy causing job loss in communities and sectors all across Illinois.
More broadly, cuts to human services will translate directly into decreased economic activity statewide, and the report shows that could result in a loss of $458.5 million to the economy. The actual negative economic impact of a cut to the human services budget exceeds the actual size of the cut since spending on human services generates $1.31 of economic activity for every $1 spent. In other words, state funding to human services functions as an economic engine and removing it from the economic chain has serious consequences:
“By cutting human services funding further in the next budget Illinois is lengthening the time it will take to fully recover from the Great Recession,” said Yerik Kaslow, Director of Education and Social Policy Analysis at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and co-author of the report.
“Since human services are often the most cost-effective approaches to treating and solving social problems, with these cuts we are allowing social problems to become more entrenched and more difficult to address, which sets the stage for more costs to all Illinois taxpayers.”
This is not simply a point-in-time issue—cuts to human services accumulate: the $1.64 billion dollar cumulative underfunding of human services since 2002 likely led to the loss of over 18,000 private sector jobs in Illinois over that same period. As of October 2011, the State had a backlog of bills to human service providers totaling nearly $459 million, which has the effect of withholding over $600 million from the Illinois economy.
Illinois is in the midst of recovering from the worst recession in two generations. Job growth and increased economic activity are of paramount concern to voters and lawmakers alike. Ramifications of State Budget Cuts to Human Services provides evidence that public spending on human services serves as an economic stimulus for jobs and private spending in the broader Illinois economy.
Adequate public spending also has the longer-range benefits of avoiding future social problems and associated costs. In light of this, cuts to human services are short-sighted and detrimental to Illinois’s economy.