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Preckwinkle: Layoffs loom unless legislators pass state budget

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is warning of possible layoffs and cuts to programs affecting some of the county’s most vulnerable citizens — if legislators don’t pass a state budget soon.

Preckwinkle, speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board Monday, said that as of Jan. 31, Cook County is owed about $66 million in state funding.

“If that continues, we’re going to have to either skinny down programs or stop them and lay off people because we can’t continue to carry the state because we don’t have the cash reserves to do it,” Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle pointed to the approximately $18 million in grant money not currently available to the county for child support programs. Most of that money would arrive in the form of a federal grant, but that’s contingent on state funds arriving, Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle doesn’t expect a state budget resolution any time soon.

“The speculation of the people that we know is that this will find some resolution in November maybe, after the election, when the dust clears and the people of Illinois have spoken as to their preference for Republicans or Democrats,” Preckwinkle said. “There are some people who don’t even see it then.”