Shirley Perez and I met with Tony Records and the new Ligas Court Monitor Ronnie
Cohn. It was a delightful meeting with the only downside being that this was my last
meeting with Tony Records.

Not surprising, Ronnie and I have quite a few friends in common. Ronnie knows her
stuff, clearly an articulate and a knowledgeable Court Monitor with vast experience in
this role. She is also a strong advocate knows the importance of person centered
planning and self direction. I believe our new Court Monitor will be a great asset to
Ligas Class Members as well as the disability service system. I very much look forward
to working with Ronnie Cohn.

Thanks for your suggestions on actions related to the current budget crisis. Keep them
coming. Programs are closing, people are being asked to work without pay and cash
flow is at the breaking point. We need action from Springfield not rhetoric!

I am headed to Chicago today to meet with Director Romano of the Illinois Council on
Developmental Disabilities. I will also be on Disability Beat Radio tonight at 8:00 p.m.
for a discussion on the state budget crisis. Tune in, 90.1 FM or!

Story on the budget impasse from today’s Chicago Tribune..


Budget impasse still a war of words
Programs threatened as Rauner, Madigan blame each other for inaction

By Monique Garcia Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD — The war of words continued at the Capitol on Tuesday, with
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner accusing Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan
of purposely standing in the way of a budget deal in order to create enough chaos to
force a tax increase.

The comments represent the first-year governor’s latest attack on the long-serving
Madigan, who Rauner argues is the “problem” in breaking an impasse that has state
government operating in its fourth week without a complete spending plan.

Madigan was quick to shoot back, saying Democrats sent Rauner a budget but the
governor decided to veto most of it instead of using his powers to choose what should
be funded and what should be cut. That proposal, like the spending plan Rauner put
forth in February, was several billion dollars short.

Without a full budget, social service agencies that rely on tax dollars soon will begin to
run out of money and may have to lay off workers and cut services ranging from home
care for the elderly to therapy for patients with autism.

Rauner contended that Madigan is deliberately putting social programs at risk to build
pressure so that Democrats who control the legislature vote for a tax increase to offset
a multimillion-dollar budget deficit. Rauner says that even though Madigan has a veto-
proof majority, there isn’t uniform support for a tax hike.

“I think the speaker wants pressure, he wants impact now before he’ll do the right thing.
He knows what should happen, because many members of his caucus know we should
compromise and work this out, but they want impact,” Rauner said. “They want people
hit by (the) lack of a budget before they’ll take action.”

Madigan countered that Rauner was also to blame for the turmoil, and the House held a
daylong hearing to highlight the problems created by the lack of a budget, including the
closure of some county fairs and the suspension of a program that helps low-income
people pay for electricity.

“He seems to forget that the legislature sent him a spending plan that would help protect
middle-class families,” Madigan said during what has become a weekly media briefing.
“He was advised on more than one occasion that he could have worked with that spending
plan using his powers under the constitution to line-item veto, to reduction veto, to fashion
a spending plan that would be good for the people of the state of Illinois.”

Rauner has sought to use the budget-making process to push through a sweeping political
agenda that would freeze property taxes, put term limits in place, curb union power and
reduce business costs by overhauling the workers’ compensation program and reducing
large civil lawsuit payments. The governor contends that those ideas must be put in place
before he would consider raising taxes or finding more money for the budget.

Madigan repeatedly has said that Rauner is acting in the “extreme” and has suggested
that Democrats are fundamentally opposed to many of those proposals because they
would harm workers and dilute the middle class.

In the meantime, the House continued to float a series of one-month stopgap budget
plans that Rauner has said he won’t sign. The latest proposal, which would fund local
fairs and pay for energy assistance for the poor, was adopted as an amendment on an
existing bill but was not called for a full vote.

That’s partially because as the budget impasse drags on, fewer lawmakers are showing
up. Only 96 of 118 House members made the trip to Springfield on Tuesday, while the
Senate is not scheduled to return until next week.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)