JOLIET, Ill. – State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, recently attended a hearing of the House Appropriations Human Services Committee highlighting the human toll of the ongoing budget crisis.
“It used to break my heart when I would hear the stories from social service providers and their clients about the devastating toll this budget crisis was having on them, now it makes me furious,” Manley said. “Governor Rauner needs to sincerely start negotiating in good faith, and do what it is right for the people of Illinois. I stand ready to work with him but the all too familiar exercise of him asking for compromise and then, when the legislature does that very thing, he moves the goal post. I’ve seen this happen repeatedly and one begins to wonder – does the governor really have any intention of working with the legislature at all?”
The committee heard the concerns and stories from recipients of social services and their families detailing the ways in which the budget crisis has negatively impacted their lives. The committee also heard from social service agencies who provide assistance to survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, those suffering from mental health and addition, immigrants and refugees and seniors.
Ines Kutlesa, Executive Director of Joliet’s Guardian Angel Community Services, was invited by Manly to testify before the committee. Kutlesa described the community’s growing need for the domestic violence services provided by her agency and the challenges they are facing trying to provide these services without state funding.
“The effects of the trauma experienced by survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault we serve at Guardian Angel Community Services can last a lifetime,” Kutlesa said. “Unfortunately, for social service agencies like ours and many others, so can the damage that is being done due to the budget crisis. These are not talking points. This situation is leaving scars on ourmost vulnerable and making it worse for those who’ve been already harmed. We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received from Representative Manley. However, she needs assistance from other elected officials to put a budget in place and that includes the Governor. So, from one Chief Executive to another, Governor Rauner – now is the time to lead.”