Open letter to our state legislators, local elected officials and Illinois taxpayers
I have a series of questions for everyone reading this letter:
â€¢ What kind of state and community do you want to live in?
â€¢ Do you want to live in a community where there is no shelter for battered women and children?
â€¢ Do you want to live in a state which ranks dead last in community-based services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled?
â€¢ Do you want to live in a community where waiting lists for counseling can run from several weeks to several months?
â€¢ Would you be proud to live in a state where 17,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities are waiting for services?
â€¢ Would you be proud to live in a state where thousands of persons with mental, developmental and physical disabilities live with parents over the age of 60, waiting for supportive housing?
â€¢ Are you willing to balance the state’s budget woes by denying services to Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens?
No one likes paying taxes, but unless some miracle happens, tax-generated revenues are the only way to address the needs of all the citizens of Illinois. If Illinois doesn’t face up to their obligations to care for these citizens, it will fall upon each of our individual communities to take care of our own. Unfortunately that care may be in the form of homeless shelters, jails and living on the streets for the abused, mentally ill and victims of substance abuse.
So what kind of state do you want to live in? Are you satisfied to live in a state that is â€œ51st and failingâ€ its residents? If not, you need to support enhancing revenues in order to provide these critically needed services and make our legislature responsible for caring for residents of Illinois who cannot care for themselves. Let’s not do it because we are forced to, but because it’s the right thing to do. Let’s do it so we can be proud to live in Illinois.
Jerry J. Murphy, Executive Director
Mental Health & Mental
Retardation Services, Inc.