CHICAGO – Survivors of domestic violence, parents of children with developmental disabilities, breast cancer survivors, and many other recipients of social services expressed outrage over the lack of a state budget and called on Governor Bruce Rauner to return to the negotiating table and pass a budget that protects the most vulnerable Illinois residents at a hearing of the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee in Chicago Thursday.
House budget committees will continue to meet next week in Chicago. The Appropriations-General Services Committee will hear testimony on Wednesday, and the Appropriations-Higher Education Committee will meet on Thursday.
“At these hearings, legislators hear directly from the victims of Bruce Rauner’s budget crisis: Parents of developmentally disabled children unable to get the care they need; survivors of abuse and sexual assault; citizens struggling with mental illness,” said House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. “House Democrats stand with the people who shared their heartbreaking stories, and many more throughout our state, in urging the governor to return to the negotiating table. On behalf of these individuals and thousands more who are in such great need, I urge him to come back to the table soon.”
Citizens struggling without access to critical services and local providers shared their personal stories of how the governor’s budget crisis has hurt children with developmental disabilities, victims of sexual assault, patients who rely on state-supported AIDS treatment, and tens of thousands of seniors who have had their home services eliminated, among many more.
“The governor’s budget crisis is putting lives at risk. As the mother of a daughter who is facing severe health concerns and challenges, I know firsthand what the budget impasse is doing to so many families,” said Marybeth Linse of Ingleside, who testified at the hearing. “Because of the impasse, my daughter—who is a ventilator dependent quadriplegic—is not able to live at home with us because there are no funds for in-home health care. Rather than live at home with a loving parent, she is forced to live in a respite facility, simply because there are no services available because of the budget impasse. I would call on the governor to come back and negotiate so that people like my daughter can return home.”
Families and service providers in attendance called on the governor to put aside his corporate welfare agenda and focus on passing a budget that funds and protects critical services in Illinois that the most vulnerable rely on.
Rauner has insisted legislators rubber stamp his changes to pad the profits of big corporations and further enrich wealthy CEOs and big insurance companies before he will negotiate a budget. Democrats have worked to compromise with the governor in order to get down to the business of passing a balanced budget. While Rauner has talked about a property tax freeze, House Democrats went further and voted to cut property taxes. Acting on the governor’s demands, Democrats have passed significant reforms to the workers’ compensation system, voted to sell the Thompson Center and reformed the state procurement system. Democrats worked to pass a package of economic reforms that levels the playing field for small and medium-sized businesses in our communities and invests in businesses that invest in Illinois. But while Democrats have worked to find common ground with the governor the items he holds as pre-conditions to negotiating a state budget, the governor has refused to come back to the table.
“Where we can compromise with the governor without hurting middle-class families, we’ve worked to find common ground, but the governor won’t consider real reforms that hold big businesses accountable to taxpayers and put more money in middle-class families’ pockets,” Madigan said. “We will continue working to close the Rauner budget deficit and protect middle-class families, the elderly and our state’s most vulnerable residents. It’s time for the governor to come back to the table and work with us in good faith.”
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