Black Caucus Hosts Rally to Fight Gov. Rauner’s Cuts

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus stood with community advocates and rallied against Governor Rauner’s vicious cuts to social services and other programs. In front of a crowd of 150 people, advocates claimed the cuts represented a direct attack on the working poor and those who weren’t born into financial prosperity. Programs and services that provide in-home care for seniors, child-care assistance to working parents, home-energy assistance  to pay for heat and air conditioning and summer youth jobs stand to be eliminated or dramatically reduced.

“For the governor to say that he allotted some money to take care of some of our need is really back handed,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford – Chairman of the Black Caucus. “If we are going to have a compassionate Illinois, why are we forcing those who can’t help themselves to suffer? Why will they feel the cuts the most?”

Cuts to child-care assistance will force parents out of the program, leaving them with the decision to either work or stay home with their children and require more taxpayer assistance.

“These cuts were made blindly and without any account for the people they will affect,” said Senator Donne Trotter. “When you craft a budget, you put your money toward programs and services that are priorities. We can see that the programs that are funded reflect the governor’s priorities, and it’s not the people who need the most help.”

Several organizations that serve communities who will suffer the most discussed how the lack of support increases crime, lowers our students’ opportunities to be qualified for good jobs and will leave people without heat during Chicago’s coldest months.

“Chicago winters are among the harshest in the nation. Last year, CPS even closed for a few days, and CPS never closes,” said Senator Emil Jones III, Senate Black Caucus Chairman. “I guess we will force families to set up wood-burning stoves in their homes – we will call it Rauner heat.”

Last week, Democrats in the General Assembly sent a budget to Governor Rauner to sign. The Black Caucus supported a budget package that provided adequate funding for programs and services that assist the working poor. Unfortunately the governor vetoed that budget plan.

Pictured: State Senator Kimberly Lightford speaking at Illinois Legislative Black Caucus rally on June 25, 2015.