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Mental health advocates concerned about budget

ILLINOIS -- Those supporting the mentally ill are keeping a close watch on the Capitol.
ILLINOIS -- Those supporting the mentally ill are keeping a close watch on the Capitol. If the temporary income tax isn't extended, there will be cuts. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs explains.

"We're talking about at least 35,000 people that will not be able to access services."

The clock is ticking for lawmakers to approve and pass a balanced budget by the end of the month. As time goes by, many state agencies fear the worst.

"Over at least five mental health centers that's closed in the last three to four years."

Mental health expert Marvin Lindsey says mental health services could see reductions in all areas.

"Outpatient, you have residential services, people in their homes will have to be evicted because there won't be no funding."

Advocates are asking lawmakers to make sure mental health communities get the funding they need.

"We will invest in community-based services. It's important. We believe it's important to do that on the front end to negotiate with the governor, to negotiate with the General Assembly."

Josh Evans says the worst case scenario is seeing a lot of people who rely on the services end up in the wrong places.

"They will present in the hospital emergency rooms. They will present and go into the correctional system which is at a much higher cost."

Which Lindsey say scan cost more than what they're asking.

"Talking about over $20,000 a year for somebody to be in jail."

Lawmakers have until May 31 to pass a budget. Wednesday, a committee approved a plan based on extending the temporary income tax increase. It now moves to the House.
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