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Illinois Budget Woes Mean Drastic Cuts to Child Care Subsidies

Illinois has been operating without a budget for two months now and the amount the state owes to cover its bills exceeds the amount left in its coffers. Among the measures taken to deal with the shortfall, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has imposed rules sharply limiting the number of families who qualify for child care subsidies. 

Under the new rules, the annual income for a family of three seeking a subsidy cannot exceed $10,000, down from about $37,000 before July 1. Families already enrolled in the subsidy program will not be tossed out, but the rules will limit the number of qualified new applicants so much that the state expects to save $47 million per year, according to stories by Pantagraph.com out of Springfield, Ill., and The Chicago Tribune. All but 10 percent of the 90,000 currently participating families would still qualify under the new rules, according to The Tribune. 

June Davis, director of Bloomington Day Care Center, told Pantagraph, that she's has had to turn away at least 20 families because they exceeded the new, lower income limits.

Meanwhile, House Democrats last week voted to increase spending on the state's subsidized child care program, according to The Tribune.

Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, told The Tribune that the legislation was a "false promise" to parents in need. "If we promise that you're going to get a service but we don't have the money to pay that service, what do we do?" Davidsmeyer asked. 

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