Social Services Agencies Plead With Illinois Lawmakers To Pass Budget

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Several Rockford organizations gathered Tuesday to pleading with legislators ahead of tomorrow’s State of the State Address, to pass a budget.

“Children and families… they are being hurt right now,” says Kelly Anne-Ohde, Director of Communications for Easter Seals.  “If policymakers don’t pass a responsible budget soon, our families and communities may never fully recover.”

Easter Seals representatives were joined by several organizations, such as Circles of Learning and the Epilepsy Foundation.  “The reality is that, without a state budget, services for families, the elderly, homeless, and children are being harmed and severely cut back,” says Anita Rumage, Executive Director for Circles of Learning.  “Cutting programs is not the answer.  We need to choose revenue.”

Epilepsy Foundation’s executive director, Benjamin Slack, says the lack of a budget is due to leaders playing politics.  “Political power is the driving force for not passing the budget,” says Slack.  “Political ideology is crushing the social services of the State of Illinois.”

Sen. Dave Syverson (R-35th) agrees with Slack.

“It’s very political,” says Syverson. “The human service providers have every right to be upset, because they were somewhat singled out again this year, like they have in the past, as taking the brunt of the budget problems.”

Syverson says Governor Bruce Rauner (R-IL) is willing to support temporarily raised income taxes, but only if democratic lawmakers are willing to compromise on other points.  “The Speaker and the legislature chose to only pass parts of the budget that they thought were important.  That’s pretty much the programs that government runs, not the cost-effective programs that the private sector runs.”

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