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To the editor:
May is Older Americans Month. This year’s theme
Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow focuses on injury prevention that
emphasizes helping older adults stay active. This is timely as we
are witnessing an increase in the number of adults reaching
retirement age who are remaining strong and active for longer than
The Illinois Department on Aging serves as an advocate for older
adults and their caregivers by administering programs that help
older adults live independently in their homes and communities.
Without services to assist, many of our most vulnerable would be
have few choices to remain independent and would find themselves
forced to live in nursing home facilities. Without question,
services delivered to older adults’ homes in their communities cost
the state far less than nursing home services.
Illinois legislators are debating Governor Pat Quinn’s budget
proposal that calls for maintaining the current state income tax
rate. Those who say Illinois can tax less and spend less while still
providing vital services and critical care for older adults are not
telling the truth. Programs such as the Community Care Program,
Adult Protective Services, and Home Delivered Meals account for more
than 95% of the Department’s general revenue fund budget. Without
that revenue from the current income tax rate, many of the state's
critical services will face radical cuts, and increase the backlog
Community Care Program:
The “Not Recommended” budget level would reduce the average number
of in-home service units from 46 hours a month down to 34 hours.
[to top of second column in this letter]
Adult Protection Services:
The “Not Recommended” budget level would not allow for growth from
the expansion to cover persons with disabilities age 18 to 59 living
in a domestic setting, and among the elderly. To live within this
budget the program would have to restrict the kinds of cases it
Home Delivered Meals:
The “Not Recommended” budget would not allow for the needed 54%
increase of meal levels. To accommodate a reduction, more seniors in
need of nutrition assistance would have to be wait listed.
If action is not taken to retain our current income tax rate, the
reality is that effective July 1, 2014, extreme cuts will be
imposed. These cuts could mean we’d lose in-home caregivers for
21,000 older adults; and the older adults living in nursing homes
across Illinois would be left vulnerable, resulting from the severe
cuts to nursing home ombudsmen visits.
May is Older Americans Month. We urge legislators to vote to retain
the current income tax rate in support of Governor Quinn’s budget
for fiscal year 2015. The Governor’s plan protects families
including the more than two million residents aged 60 years or older
who call Illinois their home.
John K. Holton, PhD
Illinois Department on Aging
May 09, 2014]
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