Monday, June 14

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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 Springfield.

The governor was joined by state Sens. Miguel Del Valle, Iris Martinez, Tony Munoz and Martin Sandoval and 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 citizens.

“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 backing.

 

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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 increase.
  • $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 opportunities.

  • 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 successful.
  • No funding would be available to help pay for new school buildings or repairs to old schools.
  • 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 governor's office]

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