Communities plead for compassion in Rauner budget

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CHICAGO — A West Side church is calling for compassion in the state budget for young members like 11-year-old Nathaniel Fuquay. Cerebral palsy has confined Fuquay to a wheel chair, and the many needs associated with his condition makes him entirely dependent on his mom, Nicole.

Nicole, a single mother of three, is dependent on a monthly state check for just more than $700. It’s a disability payment that may go away if Governor Rauner’s proposed budget becomes a reality.

“I’m a stay at home mom,” Nicole said. “I need the extra funds to help get him back and forth to school and for the necessities we need.”

With Illinois facing a $1.7 billion budget shortfall this year, Governor Rauner is pushing for cuts that would make it harder for the elderly and the disabled to qualify for home care.

$1.5 billion could be slashed from Medicaid. Department of Human Services spending could be reduced by more than $500 million. Because those big numbers may seem hard to grasp, Nicole is asking the governor to consider individual lives

“I want him to know that my son does need help,” Nicole said. “Think about the little ones.”

Resurrected Life Church Center is one of several African-American congregations passing a petition to urger Governor Rauner to reconsider.

“There was a poet who was a member of our church who wrote a poem that said somebody better say something before it’s too late,” said pastor Ray Berryhill.

Berryhill and other clergy have requested meetings with the governor, requests that they say are ignored.

“It’s going to be tragic for our people,” Berryhill said. “Who wants to see mentally ill people walking down anybody’s street. It’s unnecessary. It’s unsafe. It’s unconscionable.”

Meanwhile, Nicole is trying to devise a plan B to get by. Because she says working outside the home is not feasible, her 15-year-old son, Davion, is attempting to instead.

"Lately, I’ve been trying to get a job in case something like that does happen for extra support,” Davion said.

The office of Governor Rauner sent this statement to WGN in response to today’s church gathering:

"Difficult decisions have to be made because Mike Madigan and the legislators he controls passed a budget with a $4 billion hole while refusing any real reforms to increase jobs or make government more effective for the people it serves. Sadly, Mike Madigan and the legislators he controls are more interested in protecting the political class than the middle class and those who need our help."

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  • joe

    Stick to your guns Rauner. Make MM do some cutting. He has single handedly ruined the state of Illinois for his own personal gain.

  • Kathy

    I’m sympathetic but it’s up to Madigan & Co to find $3 – 4 billion of other stuff to cut then. You CANNOT pass a budget that spends more than revenue! And because we citizen taxpayers have so LONG been RAPED by their mismanagement, waste, bloat and “I Got Mine!” governance, you certainly CANNOT raise taxes !!!

    • Downstate

      Hi Kathy, Check out this website: 80% of Illinois taxpayers pay 10.1 to 13.2% of their income on state and local taxes; the top 1% pay only 4.6% on average. Rauner is in the top 0.01% and probably pays less than that. Do you really think he has your interests at heart? He will raise your taxes if he gets his agenda passed. Yes, Madigan is culpable. Rauner will make things much worse by damaging the economy, all to make the rich even richer. … Of course, if you are in the 1%, then I understand your logic if not your ethics.

      • diane

        Signing a petition addressed to Governor Rauner is not the answer. Why not have relegious congregations sign petitions addressed to the Teachers unions, police, firemen,SEIU and other public workers unions . That’s where the state’s $111 billion deficit lies.

        Ask public unions to forgive one percent of their pension. That could solve a major protion of the neccessary cutbacks needed to balance the budget. .Public unions claim a 1% cost- of-living raise is nothing. A 2 %, raise or even 4 percent raise are insults to their contract negotiators, so they should have no quams about returning a measley one percent back to the state. Lets start there.

    • Michael Collins

      How about people like rauner pay their share of taxes, instead of stealing it from the people that need it the most. The people rauner himself put in the horrible situation in the first place. He IS the reason America lost so many jobs. And he’s not about to stop destroying America now.

  • Angela

    If they want to help the budget do it by cutting these ridiculous salaries these government officials make. Food stamps should only be given to those that put in to the system with a stipulation they pass drug testing and have all their verifications in order. It’s not a way of life it’s supposed to help you get on your feet.

    • Downstate

      “… cutting these ridiculous salaries these government officials make” Agreed. I’d start with Mrs. Rauner’s Chief of Staff at $100,000 per year. Diane isn’t a state employee and she has no staff. It’s truly hard times when a billionaire can’t afford a phone with a calendar app for their wife. After Bruce takes care of that, we can talk.

  • A A

    I blame those self-righteous and inconsiderate jerks who voted this man into office! He is a nightmare for the average family. Rauner is a wicked man with evil intentions.

  • dan

    i could not agree more with the fat cats needing to accept the cuts too and the rich paying more…..but also what would be wrong with that church helping that woman, if she is a faithful member of it ?? Shouldn’t the church family help those in need in its family ?? Forget relying on the government.

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