- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An association representing nearly 100 local health departments says the state budget impasse is “eroding” the ability to respond to public health emergencies.

The Illinois Public Health Association president said in a letter released Wednesday that 16 of 97 public health departments have cut back on staff, hours and services.

Association President Miriam Link-Mullison says rural areas have been hit the hardest.

She says health departments plan to ask lawmakers for $17 million. The money would cover a fraction of what the departments are owed by the state, but help fund basic services, like monitoring communicable diseases and restaurant inspections.

Illinois is in its fourth month without a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative Democrats can’t agree on a spending plan.

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