I ask this question, not rhetorically, but as a concerned resident of Illinois. What kind of state do you want to live in?
Do you want to live in a state where:
â€¢Â 70,000 people, including 4,200 children, are at risk of losing needed mental health services?
â€¢Â 4,000 persons with mental illness will be displaced from residential settings and transferred back into nursing homes?
â€¢Â School districts are laying off thousands of teachers and staff?
â€¢Â 19,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities sit on a waiting list?
â€¢Â 30,000 individuals with disabilities will lose direct services?
â€¢Â Our community-based mental health and developmental disability systems are ranked last in the nation?
â€¢Â Thousands of Illinois jobs in education and human services will be sacrificed in the name of cutting out non-existent â€œfatâ€?
All of the above are potential or current consequences of a historically underfunded state education and human services system. No one likes paying taxes, but no one wants to live in the worst state in the nation either. If we don’t pay for these services at the state level, we will pay for it locally through higher real estate taxes, overflowing jails and crowded emergency rooms.
It is time for our state legislators to get to work, stop running for re-election and to devise a means of adequately funding education as well as services for our most vulnerable neighbors with disabilities. It is time for them to go back to Springfield and make Illinois a state we can all be proud of.
Jerry J. Murphy,