Who really pays for Bruce Rauner's Illinois? (VIDEO)


UPDATED - When Governor Bruce Rauner presented his Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal in February, many people throughout Illinois reacted to the breadth of his planned cuts - deep cuts to higher education and public transportation; programs for developmentally disabled; HIV/AIDS programs; Medicaid; cancer screenings; foster care; in-home senior care; and education programs including agriculture, arts, foreign languages and board certification for teachers.

After initial reactions to the broad strokes of these cuts, Illinois Senate Democrats began hearing from families and individuals about the specific effects these cuts would have on their daily lives. They heard from college students, Medicaid patients needing dental care, women fearing breast and cervical cancer without screenings, families who count on mass transit such as Amtrak and the RTA for work and school and mothers and therapists for young children in special education.

Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton outlined several examples in his speech to the Chicago City Club today. Here are a few of the stories he shared about what we are hearing from Illinoisans.

DCFS Scholarship recipients could lose college education

Scholarships help many college students follow their dreams. DCFS scholarships help young people who have been in foster care for several years and still need assistance to go to college after they turn 18. Governor Rauner's proposed budget cuts would eliminate the scholarships and other programs helping foster children and other wards transition to adulthood and independence.

Three ISU students spoke with us about their experiences and their future thanks to these programs.


 Read more: Rauner budgets cuts target older Illinois foster youth (Chicago Tribune)

Senior citizen programs keep them in their homes rather than nursing homes

Ray Miller is a low-income retired gentleman with a bad back. Without a caretaker who comes to his home as part of the Community Care Program, Ray knows he would need to move to an assisted living facility. He believes the higher cost for more people in nursing homes doesn’t make sense, and that his current situation provides self respect and a sense of worth.





The Children’s Habilitation Center could be forced to eliminate services

kassidy1Kassidy is 3½ years old. Born with Pompe disease, an inherited disorder that impairs the heart and skeletal muscles, Kassidy suffers from cardiomyopathy and chronic respiratory failure, among other things, and relies on a g-tube and ventilator to survive daily.

At 3½, she’s already outlived the normal life expectancy of someone with Pompe disease by 2 years.
She’s one of 67 children currently residing at Children’s Habilitation Center in Harvey. The center is a leading long-term, sub-acute pediatric care center facility in the Midwest. These children require 24-7 skilled nursing, respiratory care, on-site physical therapy, dietary services and education. Current state funding barely covers the costs.

The only other option for these children is an acute hospital setting, which is far more expensive. Children’s Habilitation Center officials estimate they save the state millions annually by providing a lower cost alternative to acute care.

Read more: Proposed cut in early childhood program criticized (Springfield Journal - Register)

Child Care Assistance Program cuts could mean less options for working parents

Frankie Delaney brought her two young children to the Capitol last week for a rally in support of CCAP. Frankie works to support her kids as well as go to school.

"Without CCAP, I won't be able to afford child care or stay in school," said Delaney, a Springfield resident. She has no family in the immediate area to help. Leah Peterman, Frankie’s sister, operates a day care in Harvey and emphasizes it is not only parents who would suffer.

"Every last one of my parents relies on this funding. I have 95 students," she said. "If it isn't restored, I would probably have to shut my doors and find another way to make a living."

Read more: Child care funding crisis affects parents, day care operators (VIDEO)

School-age children and teens

A program called Teen REACH is funded through the Department of Human Services. This after-school group helps youth aged 6 to 17 avoid gangs, substance abuse, violence and reduce other at-risk behaviors while staying in school and learning worthwhile activities. In turn, those positive steps make their communities safer and more fulfilling. Cuts proposed by the governor would eliminate the program entirely.

Read more: Teen REACH keeps kids off the streets (VIDEO)

Illinois’ economy relies on agriculture. Ag education helps our state’s future farmers learn about the latest ways to produce food efficiently and economically with the latest technologies and strategies, supplementing what they learn on their family farms. A line item cut to Ag education has teachers worried about funding to keep their curriculum up to date and enhancing their programs. That's sparked concern from FFA students and instructors across the state.

FFA students recently visited the Illinois Capitol and talked about how valuable the program is.

Read more: Ag education line item could be cut (Piatt County Journal - Republican)



Higher Education

Students, faculty and staff are stunned at the proposition of 30 percent cuts to state universities. University of Illinois’ Graduate Employees Organization administrator Jen Phillis worries about fewer scholarships, fewer teacher’s aide positions and compensation for the lowest paid employees.

Read more: Illinois Governor Seeking To Raid Higher Education Budget A Month After Bring Sworn In (Think Progress)

More cuts, more programs

News outlets throughout the state have told similar stories. Amtrak, HIV/AIDS programs, Medicaid, breast and cervical cancer screenings. Learn about your neighbors whose lives will change for the worse if these cuts are implemented: