A letter to the editor by Health & Medicine's Executive Director Margie Schaps in response to Governor Rauner's State of the State address
on Wednesday, January 27th was featured in today's Chicago Tribune. The article is available here
at the Tribune's site and below.
It was 37 minutes past noon during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address on Wednesday when he finally mentioned Illinois’ lack of a budget. Before getting to the most critical issue facing our state, the governor discussed the need to provide innovative services for people returning to communities from prison, including substance abuse services and cognitive behavioral therapy. He emphasized the need for robust early childhood education, moving people who receive care in institutionalized settings back into communities, and a focus on prevention and public health. How will he support these programs when the infrastructure to provide these services is being further dismantled each day that we go without a budget?
All of these things, which are so important to the people of Illinois, depend upon passage of a state budget backed by sufficient revenue. The governor can spout rhetoric about priorities, but the bottom line is that he is derelict in his duty. Does Rauner want to be remembered for his bold new “innovation” of refusing to pass a budget?
Unfortunately, the governor’s words about accountability, innovation, and reform have been undermined by his and the legislature’s collective failure to pass a budget and to advance equitable revenue strategies that have succeeded in other states. The governor must set aside his ideologically driven agenda and work with the General Assembly to do this. As the governor said on Wednesday, “Let’s get it done.”