Urges action to protect seniors, veterans and the poor
SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement after this morningâ€™s joint Senate appropriations hearing, at which agency directors and representatives testified on the likely effects of budget reductions consistent with the scheduled expiration of the current income tax rate on January 1, 2015:
At todayâ€™s budget hearing, my colleagues and I learned that this yearâ€™s revenue shortfall will require state agencies to make devastating and unacceptable cuts. These include eliminating community supports for 18,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness, substance abuse treatment and prevention services for more than 200,000 residents, access to food pantries for 1.96 million families, treatment for 10,000 veterans suffering from PTSD, child care for 39,000 young children and almost $1 billion in funding for public schools.
At a time when sweeping reductions like these are no longer a distant threat but an immediate fiscal reality, it is unconscionable that Illinois maintains corporate tax loopholes and still gives handouts to large corporations without sufficient accountability for job creation.
We owe it to our most vulnerable residents to examine every option available to us, beginning with scaling back corporate welfare, before eliminating services our neighbors depend on for life, dignity, safety and hope. I also urge my colleagues to seriously consider increasing the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Both would give relief to the working poor, decrease dependence on government assistance and drive economic growth.