June 16, 2016 Rep. Litesa Wallace
Wallace: Rauner's Budget Plan Prioritizes Politics over People
ROCKFORD, Ill. – State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, on Thursday was
critical of funding left out of Gov. Bruce Rauner's stop-gap budget
proposal that would sacrifice critical funding for Illinois' working
families, children and senior citizens while sparing the wealthiest
Illinoisans, and prioritizing expenses like office supplies for state
agencies over domestic violence shelters, breast cancer screening
programs and financial aid for college students.
"Illinois has gone nearly a year without a state budget and that is
simply unacceptable," Wallace said. "Now, the governor wants legislators
to vote for a budget that massively underfunds programs that keep
seniors in their own homes and provide essential services for disabled
children and those with mental illness. The governor has been holding
Illinoisans hostage so that he can get his agenda of hurting working
families put into place. He needs to stop playing games and focus on
getting Illinois back on track."
Wallace pointed out that within the governor's budget proposal is nearly
$5 billion for operational expenses within the state bureaucracy for
items such as the state's vehicle fleet and the purchase of office
supplies, yet zero funding or massive cuts for breast cancer screenings
for women, services for children with developmental disabilities, autism
and epilepsy, youth job and mentoring programs, job training, veterans'
homes, and programs for senior citizens, such as meals for the homebound
and health screenings. In addition, the spending plan Wallace supported
would boost funding by nearly $18 million over last year's level for
Rockford School District 205, while the governor's bill invests $13
million less than the Wallace-backed proposal.
"Our organization is in an extremely difficult financial position, with
services being in complete jeopardy," Epilepsy Foundation Executive
Director Ben Slack said. "We need a budget—a responsible budget that
doesn't result in more harm than has already been done. Additionally, I
urge the governor to take immediate action and sign Senate Bill 2038, a
bi-partisan, life-saving bill on his desk right now."
Wallace was joined by advocates from Rockford University, the Federation
of Independent Colleges and Universities, Rosecrance, RAMP Center for
Independent Living, the Epilepsy Foundation and the Northwestern
Illinois Area Agency on Aging.
Those in attendance also urged the governor to sign the emergency human
services budget, which would keep the doors open at various human
service agencies in Northern Illinois. The bill passed without
opposition from Republicans and Democrats and has been awaiting Rauner's
signature for nearly a month.
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