Friday, May 27, 2011

Opinion: Illinois Cuts Will Prove Costly

Guest column by Tony Paulauski, executive director of The Arc of Illinois, in the Rockford Register Star.

Illinois is planning devastating cuts in services for individuals with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities. These cuts target our most vulnerable citizens and are being sold as a way to balance Illinois' estimated $13 billion deficit. The truth is, these cuts are shortsighted and will send us on a path of destruction.
Illinois ranks last in the nation for supporting citizens with disabilities in their home communities. Disability services that are the lifeline to more than 220,000 people with disabilities, and their families have already experienced deep cuts and are hanging by a thread. In addition to funding reductions several critical programs are being eliminated, and it’s estimated that 3,052 direct care staff will be laid off as a result. At the same time the budget calls for the hiring of 950 state employees and grants union employees an 8.25 percent wage increase.

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