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Monday, May 23, 2016

Illinois Human Services as an Economic Engine Throughout Illinois, May 2016 Report

May 23, 2016 -- The following article and information is shared from the wonderful Illinois Partners for Human Service, which is excited to release their report (posted below) on "Human Services as an Economic Engine" Research Report. 


Read the exclusive coverage in Crain's Chicago Business below:

Crain's Chicago BusinessGreg Hinz on Politics, May 23, 2016

The budget war's hidden $4.5 billion problem

As Springfield nears the end of another budget season-without a budget-in which social-service groups again are likely to get the shaft. A coalition of such groups is releasing a solid analysis of what's at stake economically-and not just statewide, but in the district of every member of the General Assembly.
A new report (posted below) I've obtained exclusively from Illinois Partners for Human Service says agencies serving the disabled, elderly, poor and others collectively are responsible for $3.1 billion a year in direct spending and $1.4 billion in secondary spending. They employ 3.5 percent of the state's workforce, roughly 169,000 people; and generate $597 million annually in state and local taxes.
Not to mention the value of the services to their recipients.
What's really fascinating, though, is that such spending, proportionally, tends to be concentrated not so much in Chicago and nearby suburbs, but in rural Downstate areas.
For instance, the report says the Cook County has 262 poor persons and 160 disabled persons for every agency serving their needs. But that ratio is two to three times higher in areas such as Hancock County along the Mississippi River, Pike County west of Springfield and Massac County at the southern tip of the state. 
Human service workers make up 2.9 percent of the workforce in Cook County but 4.3 percent in Gallatin County, 5.3 percent in Hardin County, 3.9 percent in Johnson County and 4.8 percent in Lawrence County, for instance.
And by Senate district, just five of the top 20 areas ranked by the economic impact of social service spending are located in Chicago, with six having Republicans serving as their senator. Among those is the district of Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno of Lamont, ranked 13th, with $73 million of such spending a year and 3,311 employees.
All of this occurs, the report says, even though such workers make well below what they'd garner in another line of business-even degree holders earning a median hourly wage of $16.61, compared to $26.14 for college grads generally.
"As a coalition of over 850 community organizations, Illinois Partners for Human Service understands that human services are the pillars that uphold healthy, vibrant communities," Executive Director Judith Gethner says in a forward. "Evidence suggests that human services make a major contribution to Illinois," she adds, yet the state has been imposing cuts and flat rates, when money is made available at all.
Some social service spending is on autopilot during the budget standoff between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Springfield Democrats. But other groups are owed hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and have gone to court in a bid to spring free their money.
The report was prepared by local demographer Rob Paral and by the Public Policy Center at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
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