Gov. Blagojevich highlights what is
at stake in budget debate
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[JUNE 14, 2004]
CHICAGO -- At a
community gathering Monday outside Eli Whitney Elementary School in
Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich
outlined for local leaders and residents the painful impact the
Illinois House's proposed no-growth budget would have on critical
services and programs. The governor visited Little Village, Humboldt
Park and Pilsen as part of his ongoing effort to inform the public
about what is at stake in the continuing budget negotiations in
The governor was joined by
state Sens. Miguel Del Valle, Iris Martinez, Tony Munoz and Martin
several community leaders who oppose the alternative budget
proposal, as well as more than a dozen representatives from
education, child care and immigration organizations who understand
how painful deep cuts would be to Illinois' most vulnerable
“Families in the Latino
community would be hit hard by a budget that makes no investments in
health care or education,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Chicago has so
many new and first-generation families who have come here to work
hard and pursue the American dream. Their success depends in part on
how well we, as a state, can help provide basic tools -- like
affordable health care, good schools and naturalization assistance.”
The governor worked closely
with state Senate President Emil Jones and members of the Senate
Democratic caucus to pass a budget plan that closes the state
deficit and directs more resources into critical areas like
preschool, K-12 public education and health care for low-income
children and their parents. The budget pays for the increases by
making tough cuts in other areas -- closing old prisons and moving
inmates into more efficient facilities, eliminating unfair corporate
tax loopholes, cutting spending by 2.25 percent in all areas but
health and education, and streamlining state government.
The Illinois House advanced a
“no growth” plan that allows for no new state spending in fiscal
2005. That means the state would be unable to invest more in
education, health care and public safety programs and would also
have to make deep cuts to existing programs in order to meet the
growing cost of Medicaid and pension obligations.
Every region of the state would
experience significant cuts in health care, education and economic
development; schools would miss out on a $400 million increase in
state aid; and 150,000 men, women and children in the state's
Medicaid health care plans could lose their coverage.
The governor outlined exactly
what would be lost for communities in need if the state adopted a
no-growth budget instead of the budget that he and the senators are
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Chicago Pubic Schools would
stand to lose $105.5 million in new funding from a $250 per-pupil
increase in the general state aid formula, and all Cook County
schools together would lose $161.5 million.
Chicago would miss out on an
$11 million increase for early childhood development programs.
The Illinois Community
Colleges that serve Cook County would lose out on more than $18
million in additional funding.
$3 million in funding for the
New Americans Initiative would be lost. The new program is
designed to help 500,000 immigrants in Illinois, who are soon
eligible for citizenship, work through the naturalization process.
81,431 seniors, children and
low-income parents in Chicago and Cook County would lose their
current Medicaid health coverage.
- 22,400 low-income working
parents in Chicago who are supposed to receive health care this
year under the Family Care program wouldn't get it.
- The proposed $3 million
increase for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program
would be cut.
- HIV/AIDS prevention
programs in minority communities would lose out on a $1 million
$4 million in funding for
community-based programs that help keep at-risk juveniles out of
prison would be lost.
- The Job Training and
Economic Development program to help community organizations
assist hard-to-employ individuals with job training and job
placement would not get a $3.5 million increase to expand
- There would be no funding
to open two proposed Chicago Entrepreneurship Centers, which will
provide technical and financial assistance to existing and
aspiring small-business owners in order to make their ventures
- No funding would be
available to help pay for new school buildings or repairs to old
- Up to 7,000 children
statewide would not be eligible for child care.
- Funding to clear the DNA
backlog to help solve rape and murder cases would be cut.
- None of the 100 new state
police officers or 102 new parole officers could be hired.
- Hundreds of millions of
dollars in federal funds that the state currently stands to get
for health care and child care would be jeopardized.
[News release from the