Letter: Quinn is out of line with cuts

By on June 25, 2009

Why is Gov. Quinn balancing the state budget on the backs of the homeless, mentally ill and disabled?

Illinois is on the edge of crisis. Our legislature must pass a balanced budget, putting people before politics. The Senate passed a tax increase but the House failed to do so. And now, DHS (Department of Human Services) has told human service providers that they have only been funded at 47.3 percent of their total annual budget. On a local level the social service system support network will be decimated. People in our local community will lose their housing, employment, employment support, day support, etc. This will effect young and old, families of and those with disabilities, people in substance abuse programs and children in foster care. This is a small sample as the list goes on and on.

Cutting these programs will not save the state money. People will be put out on the street and will fill the courts, jails and emergency rooms. The state prisons and institutions will become flooded with people. Illinois will be blasted back into the dark ages.

It is immoral to do this, and I request that our legislators cut the fat and corruption in our state to achieve a balanced budget in Illinois. Please tell the leaders to stop putting politics before people. We elected them to represent us and make hard decisions. Now is the time to act.

Tens of thousands of people who work in the social services industry will be left unemployed. In the middle of a recession to lay off this many people is irresponsible and will cost the state even more in lost tax revenue and more welfare support.

Why do I care so much about this issue? First, I am one of the founders of Parents As Advocates, an Elburn-based support group for special needs families. More importantly, I am raising two wonderful sons. The youngest is 9 years old and was born with a genetic mitochondrial disorder and hearing impairment. This boy can light up a room and melt anyone’s heart. Parenting and loving him has changed me for the better and while I would not change a thing about him I do strive each day to make his life easier and more independent. His daily care, while rewarding, is stressful and exhausting on a good day. Although in the past we tried our very best to meet his needs, we knew we were failing him and each other. Our home life was extremely stressful and Max’s sibling often was denied the attention he needed. After a two-year application and appeal process, our family was finally accepted into the state’s Home Based Support Program in 2007. We receive funding to employ skilled workers to assist us in our home. They help my son with physical therapy, speech therapy, homework, self care skills, community integration, social skills, and toilet training. They absolutely saved our family and today I can honestly say we are able to meet the needs of our sons, enjoy one another, and I finally sleep well at night.

Thanks to Gov. Quinn and our corrupt state government, our program will be cut on July 1, and our family and thousands like us will be at risk once again. Additionally, our home support funding is matched by the federal government. So, by cutting this program, Illinois will lose the exact amount in federal dollars. This makes no sense to me to cut a worthy program that in the end is free to Illinois taxpayers.

Please help by visiting http://capwiz.com/anixter/home to assist you in identifying your legislators and composing a letter to them explaining why these cuts to human services are unjust. It will take less than 10 minutes of your time.

Carrie Capes
Maple Park
Parents As Advocates