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Number of the Day

Many states are experiencing hard times. But Illinois is nearly to the point Ray Charles described, pawning its metaphorical clothes to pay the rent. Facing a staggering deficit, Illinois is cutting its Department of Human Services Budget by: 

$312.6 million

That cut, which is about eight percent of the department's budget, marks the end of mental-health services for all but the poorest of the poor. Gone too is support for the developmentally disabled. All told, 80,000 people will be affected, say Illinois advocates. These cuts don't even come close to filling Illinois's budget gap, which the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities estimates at 41.5 percent of the total budget. Even after over $1 billion in spending cuts, the state is facing a hole of $13 billion to $17 billion for fiscal 2012.