Dems say Rauner must stop cherry picking

Staff Report

State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, and state Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Loves Park, joined Rockford families standing in opposition to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget policies Thursday.

Saying the governor is playing reckless budget games, the legislators decried what they called efforts to eliminate life-saving treatment for breast and cervical cancer patients, home energy assistance, care for the elderly and other basic services for middle-class families Thursday.

“We can’t afford to balance the budget on the backs of people who are already struggling to make ends meet,” Wallace said. “These men and women work hard to provide for their families. They didn’t create the mess in Springfield. It’s not fair and it’s not responsible to make them pay for it.”

Rauner’s veto of the state budget eliminated funding for a number of critical services, including the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which an estimated 27,000 women rely on the every year to access free mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.

“Governor Rauner’s piecemeal approach to federally funded programs creates more hardship and confusing disruptions,” said House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago. “A few weeks ago, he vetoed all federally funded program spending. Now he cherry picks and says ‘no’ to state funding for critically needed services like breast and cervical cancer screenings, assistance for children with development disabilities and meals for the elderly.”

The governor’s veto also blocked funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps thousands of Winnebago County families cool their homes during the summer and heat them during the winter.

Local families stood with Wallace and Stadelman at the Patriots Gateway Center in Rockford to discuss how Rauner’s government shutdown has put meals on wheels for seniors, therapy for children with autism and services for victims of domestic violence at risk.

Residents called for a more balanced approach that makes responsible spending cuts while protecting critical services for middle-class families, the elderly and those in greater need.

“The seniors who can’t receive meals on wheels, the working families who are unable to keep up with the high cost of heating and cooling their homes and the many more who are finding it harder to make ends meet because of the governor’s shutdown know Gov. Rauner’s budget games cost too much,” Wallace said. “I am committed to making their voices heard.”

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