By Nate Seeskin
JCUA’s AVODAH Organizing Fellow
Good Friday on April 3rd saw only the beginning of what could be drastic cuts to the Illinois state budget as Governor Bruce Rauner, by executive order, suspended $26 million in social services for the rest of this fiscal year. Programs and areas impacted by these immediate cuts include assistance for the homeless and immigrant integration services. As echoed in Governor Rauner’s larger budget plan, these cuts unfairly target vulnerable populations, especially since no revenue increases are entertained on his behalf.
JCUA has been busy at work demonstrating our opposition to the Governor’s proposed budget. On Wednesday, April 1st, several members attended a packed hearing hosted by the Illinois State House Appropriations-Human Services Committee, where numerous non-profit leaders and community members testified how devastating these cuts will be to them. At various points, the hearing was emotional as people expressed how these aggressive cuts targeting vulnerable populations like immigrants, the physically disabled, mentally ill, and the homeless would be.
On April 8th and 9th, JCUA members led meetings with their elected officials, Representative Sara Feigenholtz and Senator Daniel Biss, respectively. Both meetings were helpful in illustrating the increasing level of mistrust between the Governor and the Illinois General Assembly after the April 3rd executive order. Since the Illinois General Assembly has already agreed to cut 2.25% across the board for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015 (current) budget, Governor Rauner’s choosing to make extra cuts on his own prerogative was perceived by some as a manipulative move in the budget negotiations. Throughout the remainder of this budget cycle, it is incredibly important that we pressure our elected officials on the state level and tell them how detrimental Governor Rauner’s budget plan will be for the economy. Our elected officials should look to increase revenues that will ensure the stability of Illinois’s social safety net, not look to make further cuts that will harm many of their own constituents.
► Sign up here if you are interested in attending a legislative meeting with your State Senator or Representative now. Staff members from the JCUA Organizing Department will be in touch about arranging a meeting.