The state budget meltdown must be resolved with a substantial increase in revenues, or the proposed budget cuts will be unconscionably cruel to hundreds of our vulnerable neighbors and relatives. In Oak Park and River Forest, many people depend on state-funded support keep their jobs, foster-care subsidies to have a safe home, and home health care to remain independent. Help agencies have been operating by combining state dollars with private fundraising. These agencies have been notified that their state dollars will be eliminated or reduced. This will hurt not only those requiring service, but also service providers will find their jobs gone, leaving many unemployed and possibly in need of service themselves. 

Critics, who claim the state could make cuts to other programs before affecting vulnerable people, are short on details. Programs such as education and Medicaid are matched by federal stimulus dollars. Chopping funds from these programs would result in a loss of matching funds, leaving an even greater budget deficit than we currently face.   Also, those programs have been shamefully underfunded for many years. 

For decades, the League of Women Voters has been predicting the train wreck now upon us. Inadequate revenue and increasing state obligations for health care, retiree benefits, etc., have been the result of Republican and Democratic actions. We urge our elected leaders to stop pointing fingers and misleading the public about the need for an income tax increase. We also urge them to stop engaging in partisan politics, which use the upcoming 2010 redistricting as a bargaining chip, when people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake.  We need action now to ensure that all
Illinois citizens receive services critical to making this a great state in which to live.

The League of Women Voters urges you to contact our state legislators and advise them to vote to raise the revenues to fund a full year’s budget by increasing the income tax.
Illinois requires this revenue to educate our children and help the needy and vulnerable people in our state.

Ann Courter and Theresa Amato

Co-presidents, League of Women Voters of Oak Park and River Forest


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