Next week, Governor Rauner will give his “State of the State Address.” Two weeks later
the new Governor will unveil his proposed State Budget with the “Budget Address” to
the General Assembly. Since the Governor has been elected, he has been traveling the
state talking about the budget crisis and overspending. It should come as no surprise
with the failure of continuing the state’s income tax increase that cuts, massive cuts,
are on the table and will be part of that proposed budget.

But the “Budget Address” only marks the beginning of the budgeting process here in
Illinois. The need to keep our legislators, especially newly elected legislators, informed
about your vital work in the community. Your message becomes paramount in what will
be a very rambunctious legislative session which will end on May 31st. We are going to
have a lot of work to do with not only a new Governor but many new legislators that
may be unaware of the need for community services/supports for individuals with
intellectual and other developmental disabilities (IDD). These next months will be about
vital spending in the community. The need for new revenue and not cutting vital
community services.

The Arc will be providing you with talking points as we learn the specifics of the
proposed Budget.

In the meantime, you can also submit letters to the editor like the excellent letter in the
Daily Herald today by our good friend Pam Heavens in Joliet. Local letters to the editor
I is an important tool to inform your legislators about priorities in their home districts.


Don’t reduce state funding of Human Service

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 10:54 p.m. CST
o the Editor:

Since the election of Bruce Rauner as governor, there has been much speculation
regarding his action on the state’s budget. Human service providers that receive
funding from the state are very concerned. This sector has been informed the only
programs that will continue to receive funding are those that are mandated, court-
ordered or reimbursed by Medicaid. All other agencies are at very high risk of losing
funding, which supports our services.

The Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living provides a vast array of one-of-a-kind
services to people with any disability of any age. One of the most important programs
we provide is our Community Reintegration Program. In this program, we assist
eligible people with disabilities in leaving nursing homes and moving into their own
residences. On average, the state pays between $35,000 to $72,000 annually to keep
someone in a nursing home. When that person is reintegrated into the community, the
annual cost to the state is roughly $10,000 to $12,000. The savings to the state are
obvious; they can be measured in dollars. The freedom a person with a disability enjoys
living in their own residence is priceless.

Perhaps Springfield needs to be “shaken up.” However, slashing the budgets of Human
Service providers that literally save the lives of thousands of Illinoisans would be
senseless. Such actions will result in more unemployment, a negative impact on local
and state economies, and a lack of services for thousands of persons with disabilities,
domestic violence victims, homeless citizens, etc. The governor and legislators must
ask themselves if this is the direction in which the state should go.

Elected officials must craft a budget that does not reduce state funding of Human
Service organizations that provide valuable services. It is your responsibility to locate
resources that will support these vital programs.

Pam Heavens
Executive director of Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living

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)