- Published: Thursday, May 28, 2015 09:27 PM
Yesterday, I voted against budget reductions Governor Rauner proposed - cuts that would decimate core state functions including higher education, Medicaid, child care assistance for low-income working parents, breast and cervical cancer screenings and after-school programs for youth at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence.
Instead, I was proud to support a budget Senate Democrats have introduced to fully fund many essential services and meet the state's obligations to retirees, residents with disabilities, students in need of financial assistance and wards of the state.
As I advocate for you, I view every proposed budget as a moral document that spells out the true priorities of those who support it. Today, I was honored to stand with a majority of the Senate in affirming our priorities: empowering working families, caring for the most vulnerable and breaking the cycle of poverty through education and opportunity.
At the same time, we rejected the governor's priorities: corporate privileges, lower wages and leaving behind the least of these.
In February, the governor introduced a budget that would have
• eliminated anti-violence programs such as CeaseFire and Teen Reach
• slashed funding for colleges and universities by one-third
• limited access to cancer screenings and treatment for low-income women
• terminated dental benefits for adult Medicaid clients
• ended child care subsidies for children as young as six and those cared for by relatives
• left 4,000 children with disabilities without the early intervention services they need to start school prepared
Gov. Rauner asked legislators to approve these catastrophic cuts and many, many more. But without even waiting for the legislature's approval, he suspended grants that had already been awarded to youth employment programs and cut funding from autism services and other programs Illinois residents rely on to live independently.
My colleagues and I took a stand, because these are not mere numbers on a piece of paper; they are human lives. This process is far from over, but I will continue fighting to prioritize people, not profits.
I will continue to update you on this developing situation in Springfield, and I invite you to call or email me with any concerns or ideas you may have.