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Budget Chief Says More Grant Freezes Could Be Ahead

Tim Nuding LinkedIn profile

Social service agencies are reeling from sudden budget cuts. But more could be on the way.

Some Democrats say they were taken off guard when, two weeks after legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner passed a law to handle the budget through June, Rauner's administration said certain programs would be cut off.

Grants for a quit-smoking hotline, support for autistic kids and funding for a teen after-school program were all eliminated. In some cases, workers have been laid off, and services were discontinued.

While Senate President John Cullerton says Rauner didn't go back on his word, at least one Democratic Senator says -- given the agreement -- he trusted programs like these would be protected.

It led another Democratic Senator to ask during an hours-long hearing on the cuts if more grants will be suspended before the fiscal year is over.

"We are still reviewing," Rauner's budget chief, Tim Nuding, said. "I think most of the reviews have been done at the major agencies, but I would caution the committee that there is the potential that given the 2.25-percent appropriation reductions, that we may have to de-obligate some spending in other areas to live within those appropriation limits."

What he's saying is yes, it's a definite possibility. Nuding says there's no choice; the state can't spend more than what has been appropriated.

Nuding also says legislators should not have been surprised by the budget grant suspensions. He said he's been upfront.

"I feel like I was completely clear in what we at G.O.M.B. (the Governor's Office of Management and Budget) believed had to happen," Nuding said.

A lack of trust could make it harder for legislators and the governor's office as they begin to tackle a broader issue: next year's budget.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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