article by NATASHA KORECKI | Chicago Sun Times | Aug 25, 2015
On Monday, the Illinois Comptroller’s office told the Sun-Times it couldn’t pay to keep those services in place because the state faced a “severe cash shortage,” due to an ongoing budget impasse.

On Tuesday afternoon, the office said it had come up with $71 million in expedited payments to fund at least some of what it owes to a group protected under a federal consent decree. But that is only a partial payment.
“We are prepared to explain to the Court that we simply do not have the funds to immediately pay all organizations covered under the existing order and still meet legally required debt and payroll payments,” comptroller spokesman Rich Carter said in a statement. “But we are prioritizing all payments to the best of our ability, with precedence being given to those serving our elderly, children and most vulnerable.”
Attorneys say Illinois is violating a federal court order issued last week compelling the Comptroller’s office to pay by Friday money owed for services of those with severe developmental disabilities.

That didn’t happen, leading to the emergency motion, which is scheduled to be heard in Chicago federal court at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.

“Many of these individuals cannot feed, clothe, or toilet themselves or administer critical medication needed on a daily basis,” plaintiffs attorneys, represented by Equip for Equality, wrote in the emergency motion. “The providers of these essential services are completely dependent upon the funding of the State in order to remain in operation. If the State does not timely make the payments required by federal law and the orders entered in this case, numerous providers will immediately close their doors, and thousands of individuals with developmental disabilities will not receive services that are essential to their survival.”

Last week by U.S. District Judge Sharon Coleman noted she had already ordered the state to make the payments but reiterated the legal reasoning, saying: “payments due for services provided in July 2015 for any and all Beneficiaries of the Consent Decree for which claims have been submitted as of the date of this Order, the State of Illinois shall process and pay all such claims by August 21, 2015.”

A spokesman with Munger’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.
“The Consent Decree and Judge Coleman’s two orders make clear that payment for people with developmental disabilities must be paid,” said Barry C. Taylor, VP for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation at Equip for Equality. “At tomorrow’s hearing the State will have to explain to the Judge why payments have not been made.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did a spokesman for Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. The two have been central figures in the state’s budget stalemate.