That’s what Pat Quinn’s Department of Aging put in the Circuit Breaker forms being mailed out to seniors and the disabled.
That’s what I learned in Sunday’s article by Daniel T. Zanoza of Republicans For Fair Media.
Here’s the announcement on the departmental web site:
NOTICE: In past years, the Department on Aging has been able to issue Circuit Breaker grants at the maximum allowable amounts. However, the state budget for fiscal year 2010 (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010) did not fund the Circuit Breaker program at those levels. In order to continue to provide the Circuit Breaker grant benefit to older adults and persons with disabilities on and after July 1, the Department made the difficult decision to cut each grant awarded in half. This decision based on budgetary cutbacks cannot be appealed.
Thank you for your understanding.
That’s what happens when the General Assembly moves a program out of a big department—the Revenue Department—to a little one—the Department of Aging.
Revenue might have been able to find money elsewhere, but no Aging…at least not while keeping everyone on the payroll.
And, that’s what Illinois government is all about, isn’t it?
Let me note that when I was running for State Representative in 1972, the circuit breaker real estate tax relief program was being pushed by the Richard Ogilvie administration. The 2 1/2% income tax had been imposed in 1969 and money was pouring in so fast that Ogilvie couldn’t spend it all.
So, he allocated $29 million for the program.
It the program has only grown to $40 million (before being cut in half by Governor Quinn), it certainly has not kept up with inflation.
My first year in office, I figured out that the entire $29 million had not been spent.
That’s because not everyone eligible for benefits had applied.
So, I figured out how much the benefits could be increased without spending more than $29 million, wrote a report explaining what I wanted to do and introduced a bill.
It passed through the Illinois House—as did 11 other of my bills, more than any other freshman state rep—and took it to the Senator Revenue Committee, chaired by Terrel Clarke of Western Springs.
He was impressed with the presentation and the bill got out of committee, passed the Senate and was signed.
At the time, Pat Quinn was a patronage employee in Dan Walker’s Department of Local Government Affairs.
Now, under his leadership, the property tax relief is about what it was in 1972 before I passed the bill to increase benefits. I would not that property taxes have not decreased.