Protesters rally against cuts to social programs

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CHICAGO – Activist priest Father Michael Pfleger led the rally Tuesday and blasted Governor Rauner for raising staff pay, while slashing programs funding a host of social programs – programs that get state grant money to fund jobs and anti-violence initiatives.

Those who run the programs say they received little notice and no explanation and those affected by the cuts joined Father Pfleger outside the Thompson Center Tuesday.

Lynette Santiago from Fellowship Connection in Humboldt Park was among those marching and said she was notified through an email last Thursday from Department of Human services that funding was cut but no reason why.

“In this economy and in this community that we serve, to have to tell people they’re no longer employed? I don’t know,” she said.

Father Pfleger, who runs a youth jobs program through St Sabina Church says its more than just the money. It’s how the cuts were handled.

“Nobody was spoken to, nobody was talked to, programs were just ended,” he said.

Gov Rauner’s office and Dept of Human Services issued a statement regarding these cuts, saying, “Unfortunately, Governor Quinn signed a budget that is unbalanced by $1.5 billion. The administration is taking action to manage the inherited budget hole and is working with the legislature to find responsible solutions.”

Also affected by the state budget are child care programs that use state funds provided through the Department of Human Services.

Governor Rauner’s office says the money allocated in the current fiscal year for the child care program has run out.

Tomorrow, the governor will set his agenda during the State of the State address. His first budget will be released in two weeks.

 

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