Senate OKs allowance boost for assisted living over cost-concern objections
Illinois can't afford to double the personal allowance to some of the state's most vulnerable residents, Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) argued on the Senate floor on Thursday.
Senate Bill 1353, introduced by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), would increase the personal allowance of residents living in community integrated living arrangements (CILAS), medically complex developmentally disabilities facilities (MC/DD), intermediate care facilities (ICF) and specialized mental health rehabilitations (SMHFs) to $60 a month from $30.
Syverson commended Steans' effort but said Illinois' financial condition makes such a measure unfeasible.
“While I certainly appreciate what the sponsor is trying to do, and [while] it has been a number of years since this was increased, it’s just -- as she has mentioned -- the problem is the cost,” Syverson said. “Right now, we can’t pay our bills. We can’t even pay the bills to the facilities that these patients and residents are in, and so to increase spending at this point, I think, would be irresponsible.”
Steans argued that there hasn’t been an increase in personal allowances for the patients and residents of these facilities for “an amazingly long period of time,” with many residents receiving the $30 personal allowance since 1988.
“It’s a very small cost, and I think one that gives dignity to the residents who have been living on $30 a month for their personal needs allowance for a very long time,” Steans said.
Syverson said he would rather the Senate tackle the issue after a state budget is passed.
“Hopefully, if we get our budget issue resolved, this can be something we can address after the fact,” he said. “I would urge a 'no' vote just because we can’t afford to add new spending to our current budget.”
Voting suggested that many Senators shared Syverson’s concerns, but most agreed that the measure was worthwhile: SB1353 passed on a vote of 35 to 18.