Black Caucus appalled by Good Friday cuts

blackcaucus-041415The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is appalled by the governor’s $26 million in cuts to Human Services and Public Health grants, which provide vital resources to the state's most vulnerable. The caucus collectively voted against the fiscal year 2015 supplemental budget appropriations as it did not restore funding to the levels that were previously agreed upon.

“Governor Rauner is slashing services that only a week ago, he agreed to keep operational,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, who also serves as Illinois Legislative Black Caucus chairman. “When you cut programs and services like violence prevention, taxpayers end up spending more money on corrections when preventive services were already put in place.”

This recent round of budget cuts eliminates funding for preventive and rehabilitative programs that help people get back on track.

“Balancing the budget on the backs of struggling families and people who desperately need support is irresponsible and will hurt the economy,” Leader Lightford said. “Governor Rauner’s latest move is dangerous. The cuts will leave our children to fend for themselves over the summer months when our neighborhoods need programs to keep our kids off the streets.”

Human Services stands to lose over $21 million – money that supports programs for children’s health, addiction services and many other vital programs.

“These services are vital to the families and children they support,” said Representative Rita Mayfield, House Black Caucus chairwoman. “Over the past two years, Governor Rauner campaigned on making Illinois more compassionate and competitive, but the only thing he has accomplished is putting us on track to send more people to correctional facilities and subsidy payrolls.”

The executive Director of the African American Family commission offered the following comments:

“Although the budget pressures facing the State of Illinois are significant, the cuts to the states social service programming will be hardest felt from those who have the least. In response to the concerns echoed by many in African American communities across the state, the Illinois African American Family Commission recommends a more compassionate approach to addressing budget concerns.  This approach would work with communities to scale back social service programs, but only in response to an investment in the economic vitality of the communities hardest hit.”

Sen. Lightford

Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

Senate Majority Leader
4th District

Years served: 1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments (Chairperson); Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Charter Schools (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: B.A. in Communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in Public Administration, University of Illinois Springfield; former Village of Maywood trustee; former employee at Secretary of State, Department of Corrections and Central Management Services; longtime champion in the Senate for education, working families and women's issues; lives in Maywood with her family.

Associated Representatives:
La Shawn K. Ford
Emanuel Chris Welch