About 50 people from Clay County joined with more than 5,000 people from across the state Tuesday at the Capital in Springfield to protest the massive budget cuts that will effect agencies across the state starting July 1 if a budget that includes tax increases and large budget cuts is not past by the state legislature.


Locally the effects of such cuts at the Clay County Health Department would be massive and change the way that the organizations functions at every level.


About 50 people from Clay County joined with more than 5,000 people from across the state Tuesday at the Capital in Springfield to protest the massive budget cuts that will effect agencies across the state starting July 1 if a budget that includes tax increases and large budget cuts is not past by the state legislature.

Locally the effects of such cuts at the Clay County Health Department would be massive and change the way that the organizations functions at every level.

Deena Mosbarger, Director of Special Projects at the CCHD said that the cuts at the department would amount to about $491,000 or roughly 10 percent of the organization’s total budget.

“That includes all of the programs that have been notified of cuts,” Mosbarger said. “We haven’t decided (how many people might lose jobs). What we are able to say is that every person at the health department would be effected in some way. If they are not facing a layoff they will be facing reduced hours, if they are not facing reduced hours they will be facing a higher work load. All of us will be facing the problem of trying to provide services for people where money is no longer available.”

While Mosbarger would not  put an exact number of people that could be facing layoffs, she said if the cuts go through there would be people who loss their jobs at the Health Department.
Mosbarger said that both State Sen. John O. Jones, R-Mount Vernon, and State Rep. David Reis, R-St. Marie, have said that the response to an income tax increase has been overwhelmingly negative, but they also have said that deep cuts to social programs have been just as unpopular.

Because of the massive budget deficit in the state, some estimates have it approaching $10 billion, something major must be done in the next fiscal year that starts July 1. While some groups claim that massive cuts across the board are the answer, most, including former Gov. Jim Edger, believe the most responsible path would be a budget that includes both cuts, some deep, and an income tax increase.

The latest from Springfield is that the legislature is off until next week, when they could work Monday and Tuesday before the state’s current budget expirers, which is unlikely.

Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday that while he has hope that a budget solution can be reached, he’s considering asking state workers to take as many as 12 furlough days next year, and he may have to ask for layoffs to deal with the budget problems. But he wouldn’t detail how many layoffs might be needed.

Mosbarger said that the total cuts to the health department would amount to a nearly $3 million impact on the community annually.

The impact would be based on the amount of economic development generated by the $491,000 that would be spent in the community.