Cuts to State Funeral Program Possible in Next Year's Budget

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 Springfield - In his proposed cuts for fiscal year 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner has cut everything from Medicaid, to higher education, to the state's Autism Program (TAP).  
Now some of those cuts, some say, are a catch-22 when it comes to showing compassion to the families of Illinois.

"It seems like a catch-22, it's very well put.  One of the things we need to remember is if the state is not fiscally sound, it cannot help anyone.  There's always a concern when revenue begins to dry up for anybody," said co-owner of Staab Funeral Home, P.J. Staab.

Staab told WAND news that under the governor's proposed cuts, money to help poor families pay for a funeral is being completely eliminated.

The governor's office has said that funerals for those on public-aid will stop receiving payments after January 15th.  It's part of an effort to save the state $6.9M dollars in the current fiscal year.

Staab said that he's worried that could lead to several problems for him, and other funeral home owners.

"The average cost they say is around $10,000 in the state of Illinois.  The state of Illinos roughly takes care of about one-tenth of the actual cost of traditional services.  It's very traumatic.  It's very emotional.  And if the finances are not in order it adds another dilemma or anxiety in the family's circle or psyche around the death of a loved one.  That does not allow us to recoup anything to offset the costs.  It will begin to diminish to perform for those in need," said Staab.

Cutting funding for the program isn't new however, as it was temporarily suspended under previous governor, Pat Quinn, in 2012 before being reinstated.

While not easy to talk about, or to plan for, Staab says he recommends families start saving for funeral arrangements early on so that you're locked in at the current price to avoid increases later.

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