- Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 10:48 AM
Twelve years in the Illinois Senate have taught me that even people who disagree strongly can work together effectively. All that is required is a basic level of trust.
When the General Assembly passed a compromise plan to revive vital programs and services, such as child care assistance, that had run out of money, many legislators believed Governor Rauner could be trusted to work with us to meet immediate needs, even as we continued to negotiate next year's budget. I voted against the short-term solution because I did not trust the Rauner administration to equitably distribute funding cuts or hold off on further cuts until we reached a consensus on where to go from here. I hoped to be proven wrong.
Yet the new administration demonstrated just one week later - on Good Friday - that it would not act in good faith to protect vulnerable Illinoisans. Gov. Rauner announced last week the indefinite suspension of $26 million in funding for social services, including ones the recent legislation had exempted from cuts. These are life-changing losses for those who can least afford them: individuals with autism and epilepsy, people with HIV and AIDS, at-risk teens, recent immigrants and many more. The governor even ordered a stop to state-funded burials of those who die in poverty.
Days later, he revealed that corporate tax incentives worth $100 million had been released to recipients, while social service agencies shut down and "the least of these" languish.
Any bond of trust that once existed between the new governor and those who rely on state assistance and their advocates has unraveled. The role of government is to create policies that are wise and just. Where is the wisdom and justice in these callous cuts?
As your voice in Springfield, I will continue to ask tough questions and fight to fund the resources the people of the 16th District and all of Illinois need. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts and questions.