The Illinois Constitution clearly presents the responsibilities of the state of Illinois to its people: 

“We, the People of the State of Illinois — grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors — in order to provide for health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.” 

Governor Bruce Rauner campaigned with the promise to shake up Springfield. He also promised to be compassionate to the residents of Illinois, and to turn Illinois around. Well, Illinois is all shook up, but it’s not being compassionate. 

Illinois continues to struggle to adopt a balanced budget for FY16 after Gov. Rauner vetoed the budget passed by the General Assembly. He has proven that he has considerable control over Illinois’ government budgetary process — he has the responsibility to help pass a budget to protect the people of Illinois. 

We know that for FY16, Illinois will have $32 billion in General Revenue funds available, plus billions of additional federal dollars to provide programs and services for the people of Illinois. Already, services have been cut to Illinois’ most vulnerable people and more devastating cuts are soon on their way. Why not pass a short-term state budget to avert more cuts and a full state government shutdown to protect the people of Illinois?

A short-term budget will prevent many unnecessary cuts to much-needed programs and services in Illinois. A short-term funded budget will allow the bipartisan legislature, the governor, and the people to work together to craft the best possible budget for Illinois.

The fight between Democrats and Republicans in Springfield currently continues, while essential services like WIC, child care, LIHEAP-CEDA, Medicaid, summer jobs for youth, senior citizens programs, and many other essential programs and services are on the brink of ending in Illinois.

I urge the people of Illinois to rise up and demand a budget solution immediately and end the state budget impasse. The end of the budget impasse can be the difference between a person having life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness.

La Shawn K. Ford is the state representative for the Eighth District, which includes Oak Park.

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