SPRINGFIELD -- A budget plan drawn up by Illinois Senate Democrats, which calls for closure of the Jacksonville Developmental Center and other state facilities, was approved by a Senate committee Monday.

SPRINGFIELD -- A budget plan drawn up by Illinois Senate Democrats, which calls for closure of the Jacksonville Developmental Center and other state facilities, was approved by a Senate committee Monday.


The Senate Appropriations II Committee sent the bills to the full Senate for consideration.


However, the Senate budget is unlikely to be the final version of the state budget. The House is developing its own budget, which would spend less than the Senate plan.


Both proposals are also contingent on lawmakers closing a $2.4 billion gap in the state’s Medicaid budget. A plan to deal with that surfaced Monday, but it relies on lawmakers approving a $1 per pack increase in the state cigarette tax.


Still, the Senate Appropriations II Committee approved major pieces of the Democrats’ budget proposal and sent the bills to the full Senate for consideration.


Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, acknowledged that the plan calls for closing JDC, along with the Murray Developmental Center in Marion, the Singer Developmental Center in Rockford and the Tinley Park Mental Health Center.


The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees spoke in opposition to the budget. Joanna Webb-Gauvin, AFSCME’s legislative director, noted that the legislature’s own bi-partisan panel on facility closures recommended keeping the facilities open.


She also said the budget appears to cut the number of parole officers by 50 percent while also closing most halfway houses for inmates. The Department of Children and Family Services appears to face a 20 percent cut in its personnel budget, she said.


“This does not adequately address the needs of the state,” she said.


Republicans on the committee all voted against the plan. Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said it increases state spending because it relies on taking money from restricted state funds. He and other Republicans argued that spending must be cut far more deeply to ensure the state isn’t forced to make last year’s income tax increase permanent.


Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-Evanston, said Democrats were willing to listen to ideas for specific budget cuts from Republicans, but were never given the information.


Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527.