I sent this to newspapers statewide. Let me know if you see it.
As a veteran of disability policy in Illinois, I have never witnessed the dysfunction in
government as we know it today. A responsible state budget that restores supports for
individuals with disabilities and the human service safety net is critical. The partisanship
must end because the consequences are devastating.
If you are a person with a disability or have a loved one with a disability, public policy
governs your life from special education to housing and healthcare.
I am pleased that the Federal Court has intervened. They are protecting people with
disabilities and others without power because of the State’s past violations of civil and
constitutional rights, so some have been spared.
But there is blood on the street. Special education teachers are being laid off! The
Autism Program has closed! The largest autism network in the United States is gone.
Vital family advocacy programs at The Arc have closed! The Illinois Life Span Program,
unique in the United States, has laid off its staff as well as the Family Support Network
and the Family Transition Project.
With every passing day there will be more blood on the streets, more cuts to important
services and more closures. Do not let this come to pass.
We need new revenue. We need a responsible state budget. We need these
necessary services restored.
We need our elected officials to lead us out of the quagmire that has been created by
People with disabilities and their families deserve better.
We need statesmanship as never before.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423