Editorial: Hitting home—Illinois budget cuts would affect local families, agencies

By on June 25, 2009

Last week, this space was devoted to Gov. Pat Quinn’s “Doomsday Budget”—which will include cutting human-service funding between 50 and 100 percent if the state fails to increase taxes to cover its massive deficit.

These cuts in funding will eliminate or vastly reduce the services received by victims of domestic violence, children in need and individuals with developmental disabilities

We lambasted the governor last week, stating that to use the Illinois citizens most in need of aid as political pawns was a most despicable act.

But amid our jabs at Quinn, we did not address the situation locally.

Many e-mails have been sent to us from Carrie Capes of Maple Park, whose son, Max, was born with a genetic mitochondrial disorder and a hearing impairment, and requires very close care (see Martha Quetsch’s story). Capes has joined what can only be called a grass-roots effort to make sure these cuts are not made—contacting newspapers and politicians in an effort to garner support against Quinn’s budget cuts.

Currently, Capes is eligible to hire people to assit her son for up to $1,152 per month from a state social service program called the Children’s Home-based Support Services Waiver.

If Quinn’s funding cuts go through on July 1, Capes said her family stands to lose in-home assistance which she claims saved her family (see Capes’ Letter to the Editor).

The Hoyda family of Sugar Grove also stands to lose the $1,000 per month from the state waiver program.

“It’s extremely hard,” Cathy Hoyda told Elburn Herald reporter Martha Quetsch. “We have no family in the area; my husband travels a lot. My job is 24-7 when he is gone.”

Without the assistance, both families, which have multiple children, will be forced to take on the full brunt of care for their special-needs child by themselves—which could lead to lack of attention to other siblings, financial hardship, and strained relationships.

“Some days we are all just in tears when we don’t have relief,” said Hoyda.

Further, those hired by families like the Capes and Hoydas will likely find themselves with smaller paychecks to support their own families.

So essentially, instead of working for its consituents, the budget and the Illinois government would be working against them.

When you add in all the corruption, pork expenditures, patronage jobs and waste that could be cut instead of the social services proposed, it is enough to make your blood boil.

“(It’s) such a vunerable population that cannot survive without help,” said Hoyda.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of local agencies that will be affected by the budget cuts.

The “Doomsday” cuts are supposedly going into effect July 1, so there is still time for the public to stand up and refuse the false choice that unless its citizens pay 50 percent more in income taxes, the failures of the state government should be paid for on the backs of our citizens most in need and most at risk.

Contact our local representatives and demand they be part of the solution. Our state Senator is Chris Lauzen (25th District) and can be reached by phone at (630) 264-2334 or e-mail at admin@lauzen.com. Our state Representative is Kay Hatcher (50th District), and she can be reached by phone at (630) 553-3223 or e-mail at kay@kayhatcher.us.