President's Report

Summer/Fall 2015

On July 1, 2015, the state of Illinois started a new fiscal year with no budget in place. As a result, the state stopped providing funding for the social services that many families and communities across the state depend on for survival.

On July 1, 2015, the state of Illinois started a new fiscal year with no budget in place. As a result, the state stopped providing funding for the social services that many families and communities across the state depend on for survival. Governor Rauner has publically stated that he will not sign a budget unless it includes the ideological reforms he wants to see, all of which extend beyond the scope of the budget. The governor was elected by the people of Illinois to perform the will of the people, which includes creating economic opportunities for all. He was not elected to force his own agenda on us at will. As a result, with each passing week of the budget impasse, more services are severely reduced or cut all together, devastating working families and their communities.

This is not the first time in the governor’s short political career that he has held something hostage for his own gain. In the spring, Governor Rauner threatened to withhold 50 percent of the municipalities’ share of state income tax revenue unless they vote to accept his so-called Turnaround Agenda. However, through a coordinated effort with the CFL and our affiliated union leaders, union members went to their local town meetings and spoke out about the destructive impact Governor Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda” would have on the men and women of their town. In all, the communities that adopted Governor Rauner’s agenda represent less than seven percent of the total population of the state. On the flip side, communities that represent 91 percent of the state’s population either rejected his agenda, refused to take action or countered with a pro-labor or pro-middle class resolution of their own.

Since that did not reap the results the governor so desperately wanted, he was forced to shift gears and has honed in on the state’s most vulnerable citizens. This budget impasse is forcing agencies to eliminate services, programs and securities that are vital to the health and well-being of all people across the state, specifically children, low-income adults and seniors. Irreparable harm is being done to programs that support adult education and employment. It threatens our state’s economic viability and is counterproductive to the state’s economic interests.

The labor movement works everyday through organizations like the United Way, the CFL Workers Assistance Committee and their partners to help those in need, but it is no substitute for the safety net our government is morally obligated to provide. The inability of working families to access support programs and services, like child care, adult education classes and healthcare, holds them back and in many cases, puts them at the brink of poverty. The problem is the need for these services will not decrease as the funding is held up. In fact, it will continue to rise as economic disparity in our state continues to increase.

 

At a time when we should be supporting the economic mobility of workers and businesses, the governor is purposefully dividing these two interests, encouraging practices that will ultimately increase income disparity. What we need right now is a thoughtful budget that will grow the economy, protect our most vulnerable and expand the middle class, not a stalemate that will produce an even bigger burden to the budget. Governor Rauner needs to stop running down the people of Illinois and holding all of us hostage so that he can achieve his own ideological agenda. This is an insult to the people who elected him and will prove to be a greater detriment to the state.

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