ENFORCE CURRENT LAWS
Close the Illinois State Museum to save money? Some 200,000 people with curious minds broadened their horizons there last year.
Surely there are thousands of redundant, out-of-favor, past their usefulness or outright useless corners to sweep out of government to save the same money without destroying something that is genuinely respected, enlightening and available to all. How sad and shortsighted.
Since the lawmakers can’t make laws, let us put a moratorium on all legislation and take a year or two to actually enforce the laws that are on the books. For instance, speeding tickets on any city street, at any time of day, every day will bring forth a wealth of riches and have the delightful side effect of making the city safer. I’m just saying.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
Buying a newspaper ad would be counterproductive for Gov. Bruce Rauner because his administration seems to live on superficiality and half-truths. [See “Editor’s note” June 18.] Facts get in the way of his agenda.
By “spending discipline,” he means cutting services to Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens rather than stopping the practice of letting brand new computers sit in a warehouse and then putting them on workers’ desks when they’re almost obsolete. By “job-creating economic reforms,” he means killing the unions and getting rid of Illinois’ minimum wage.
I served in state government for 27 years, under five governors, retiring last year. He could save an awful lot of money by stopping the game of musical offices; we moved at least every three years. They “saved” money by buying recycled printer cartridges for half price that lasted one-tenth as long, and often ruined the printers they were installed in.
If I listed all the waste I saw in state government it would fill the entire newspaper.
Rauner should learn that you can’t run a business like a government or a government like a business. Business is for earning money; government is for serving the public.
SUSPENDING CRITICAL SERVICES
While Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly struggle to strike a deal on Illinois’ 2016 budget, Illinois nonprofit organizations are preparing to lay off employees and suspend or reduce services.
Youth Outreach Services (YOS), which has provided a wide range of services to teens and young adults in our communities for more than 50 years, has already provided written notice to 60 employees that they will be laid off on July 1, 2015, if the state fails to have an approved budget by June 30.
Why? Because without a FY 2016 budget in place there will be no state contracts to nonprofit agencies such as YOS to provide critical services for at-risk youth in the Chicago area.
That means the immediate suspension of substance abuse treatment and prevention programs, 24/7 crisis intervention services, support for homeless teens and after school/summer programs that keep kids safe. And, as fragile families suffer the loss of these programs, more expensive demands will be made on Illinois’ foster care, juvenile justice and public health care systems.
Illinois can’t afford the long-term repercussions of a budget stalemate. Voters should contact their elected officials at all levels of state government and urge them to reach a budget agreement by June 30. Our communities and the future of Illinois depend on it.
Rick Velasquez, executive director
Sandra Blakemore, board president
Youth Outreach Services
In last week’s article, “Downtown housing rejected,” the representative from Bluffstone, the Iowa-based developer that proposed to build downtown housing, was incorrectly identified as Tim Butler. The Bluffstone representative’s name is Tim Baldwin.