By Mimi Harris
JCUA Member and Board of Directors
Moral Mondays in Illinois are ending for now. Soon new strategies will be implemented to continue to pressure our short-sighted, apparently uncaring Governor who is refusing to pass a budget, putting us all at risk.
This last Moral Monday was dedicated to elder issues so was of serious interest to me, relic that I am! Gov. Rauner is eliminating home health care services which will doom so many seniors, including those with some means, to the miseries of nursing home life. And, for what? It is far more costly to the State to warehouse people in degrading circumstances than for them to remain home as long as possible with a dignified quality of life.
Gratefully, I do not need any of these services. But never say never! What I DO need to retain my frugal, yet independent lifestyle, is my free bus/train pass. This pass allows me access to an active, independent life. With it, I can get to the gym, have a social life, hear music, experience art, dance, and lectures within our wonderful city. AND I can attend JCUA board and member meetings, as well as other efforts in pursuit of Tikkun Olam. Rauner is not funding both the free and reduced fare transportation passes. If he gets his way, the future looks bleak for me.
I took care of my family, worked hard, paid my fair share of taxes and did my best to be a good citizen. Beloved Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky reported that Gov. Rauner makes $25,000 AN HOUR! I no longer make that in a YEAR! So, should I be on punishment? Should all the elders, working families, children and disabled folks be on punishment?
It’s not as if there are no solutions. Allied organizations have come up with several. How about a possible dollar transaction tax on the CBOE? It wouldn’t hurt them, they would not be likely to move, and it would raise billions for the state. Or how about closing the corporate loopholes? Along with that, how about the two-thirds of Illinois corporations that pay no tax at all, ponying up their fair share? It’s not about sticking it to the rich; it’s just that all of us should pay our fair share. Why should Rauner pay lower taxes, proportionally, than my kids?
The Governor isn’t the only bad actor in Springfield. And we do need structural reform badly, although not the union busting kind he wants. But he should stop just being a hedge fund guy going for total destruction, and become a Governor who can achieve structural reform without it being tied to the budget.
The bright spot for me, in all this mess, was how supported I felt to see so many JCUA members, with shirts, buttons and banners among the hundreds and hundreds of people who showed up for the last Moral Monday, and to have my own Rabbi, Rabbi Michael Zedek of Emanuel Congregation, speak. Elder and younger citizens also did civil disobedience and got arrested, showing that we are as serious in standing up for ourselves, each other, and our State, as Rauner is in dismantling our essential services.