SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) voted against budget reductions Governor Rauner proposed â€“ cuts that would decimate core state functions including higher education, Medicaid, child care assistance for low-income working parents, breast and cervical cancer screenings and after-school programs for youth at risk of becoming perpetrators or victims of violence. She was proud to support a budget Senate Democrats introduced to fully fund many essential services and meet the stateâ€™s obligations to retirees, residents with disabilities, students in need of financial assistance and wards of the state.
â€œAs a legislator advocating for my constituents in Springfield, I view every proposed budget as a moral document that spells out the priorities of its supporters,â€ Collins said. â€œToday, I am honored to stand with a majority of the Senate in affirming our priorities: empowering working families, caring for the most vulnerable and breaking the cycle of poverty through education and opportunity. At the same time, we rejected the governorâ€™s priorities: corporate privileges, lower wages and leaving behind the least of these.â€
In February, the governor introduced a budget that would have eliminated anti-violence programs such as CeaseFire and Teen Reach, slashed funding for colleges and universities by one-third, limited access to cancer screenings and treatment for low-income women, terminated dental benefits for adult Medicaid clients, ended child care subsidies for children as young as six and those cared for by relatives and left 4,000 children with disabilities without the early intervention services they need to start school prepared. Without waiting for the legislatureâ€™s approval, he suspended grants that had already been awarded to youth employment programs and cut funding from autism services and other programs Illinois residents rely on to live independently.
â€œWe are taking a stand today, because these are not mere numbers on a piece of paper; they are human lives,â€ said Collins, who sounded the alarm on the youth employment grant suspensions in January. â€œThis process is far from over, but I will continue fighting to prioritize people, not profits.â€