Saturday, July 04, 2009

IL Budget Crisis

Today our nation celebrates its Independence. For many people in the state of Illinois, this celebration is bittersweet. The IL legislature has failed to balance the state budget. Some would say that it's good that the proposed cuts to social services were not enacted; hopeful that a belated resolution to the problem will come to pass. Unfortunately, for many of the state funded social service agencies, this resolution will come too late. Programs that serve women, children, the abused, and people with mental illness as well as physical and mental disabilities have already begun to close. With no funding source, these non-profit programs simply cannot function.
Ironic isn't it? On this Independence Day, many of us social service providers are wondering how to tell our clients that we can no longer support their goal of living as independently as possible. Oh, and did I mention that the aforementioned legislature, immediately after failing to balance the budget, voted themselves a two week vacation? They return to session the day before many checks that state programs try to cash will bounce.
I teach my clients that independence is connected to responsibility, maturity, and integrity. What am I supposed to tell them when our leaders take part in manipulative "negotiations" and vote themselves raises and expense free retirement plans, instead of cutting pork barrel spending?
I teach my clients that budgeting requires sound judgement and priorities. I live by these rules myself. I pay for my housing and chemotherapy before I decide how many times I can go out to the movies, or how many magazines and books I can indulge in each month. What do I tell my clients about a government that pays for designer "Welcome" neighborhood signs before it makes sure its citizens are fed, housed, educated, and medically cared for?
Please visit Save Our Services and help if you can.

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK 1.20.61