March 2015

State Legislators, Governor Respond to Public Outcry With Fix for FY2015 Budget Crisis

Kids_save_child_care_Springfield_lobby_day_rally_580w02_26_15SEIU Healthcare Illinois Issues Statement: March 26, 2015

Contact: James Muhammad, James.Muhammad@seiuhcil.org


After Months of Escalating Actions, Calls, and Letters From Illinois Working Families, Illinois General Assembly Passes Two Bills to Fill Most of Child Care and Home Care Budget Holes for Current Fiscal Year;
Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Crisis Still Looms

(CHICAGO) – Today, the Illinois General Assembly passed two bills to address the current child care budget crisis, as well as the much smaller but still devastating home care budget crisis. (The two bills were HB317 and HB318).

After months of negotiation, the General Assembly refused to give in to Governor Rauner’s demands to be given free rein to slash the budget, and instead crafted a compromise that while temporary and still flawed provides necessary funding to fill significant budget holes.

While the bills will increase funding for the Fiscal Year 2015 Child Care Assistance Program budget by $266 million and the Home Services Program budget by $18 million, funding gaps still exist.

Additionally, the “solution” passed today includes an across-the-board cut of 2.25% to every state agency, creating additional stresses for vulnerable working families. The funding relief is also limited to this year’s budget. It fails to address the significant cuts that Governor Rauner has proposed for essential services in the 2016 budget.

With the passage of the child care budget relief today, money should soon start moving to child care providers and centers, preventing additional closures and bringing much-needed relief to providers and workers who have gone for weeks without payment. Over 100,000 working families across the state rely upon the Child Care Assistance Program.

In the months since the child care crisis funding first emerged, thousands of parents, advocates and child care providers rallied and marched and otherwise spoken out to demand an immediate solution to the crisis. This fix comes too late for some parents who have already lost jobs and income as a result. Plus many child care centers have been forced to close, impacting large numbers of families in the neighborhoods most in need of affordable child care.

While today’s budget fix will bring temporary relief for thousands of families, the current 2.25% across-the-board cut, plus an additional cut of $18 million to the Community Care Program serving seniors, will inflict additional suffering during this Fiscal Year. And more pain lies ahead after June 30th, unless State Legislators and the Governor take immediate action to bring in the much-needed new revenue to fully fund programs for the 2016 Fiscal Year.

April Verrett, Executive Vice-President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, released the following statement:

“Today, the Illinois General Assembly took a crucial step towards alleviating the suffering of the state’s working families by passing two bills to fill $266 million of the budget hole in the Child Care Assistance Program and to fill $18 million of the home care budget hole. On behalf of the working families we represent and the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Illinoisans they serve, we want to thank the legislators who took action to stop the 2016 Fiscal Year budget crisis while refusing to give in to Governor Rauner’s demands.

“This solution is temporary—it doesn’t address the devastating cuts the Governor has proposed for Fiscal Year 2016—and limited in its scope. But it does bring immediate relief to the over 100,000 families who depend upon the Child Care Assistance Program in order to work and support their children. It means that child care centers and providers will stop closing up shop, and most importantly, that no additional parents will lose their jobs and possibly their homes because they can’t access affordable child care.

“Today’s solution was a result of the outcry by hundreds of thousands of Illinois families and advocates. SEIU Healthcare Illinois was proud to have thousands of our members engaged in the fight with many taking buses to Springfield and risking arrest, holding hundreds of child care walkouts with thousands of families across the state, not to mention the rallies, letters, and phone calls to legislators.

“While we’re relieved to have the immediate crisis resolved, the larger budget crisis remains. The 2.25% across-the-board cuts for the remainder of this Fiscal Year will inflict further pain on working families. And the $18 million cut to the Community Care Program will be devastating for seniors who rely upon those vital services.

“In addition, Governor Rauner has proposed devastating budget cuts for the next Fiscal Year after June 30th, which means child care, home care, senior care services and hospitals all face significant cutbacks to vital services.

“Governor Rauner proposes eliminating child care services for children over age five and cutting all relative care—both of which would have devastating consequences for families struggling just to survive.

“The main message is that Illinois families have a big fight ahead.

“We know that speaking out and taking action works—that’s how we got the relief delivered today. But there are larger fights ahead that will require more than temporary fixes.

“Our members are prepared to keep working with families, advocates and allies across the state for comprehensive budget solutions that are based on new revenue from the 1% and not accepting devastating cuts to working families.”

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Walk Out for Kids Statewide Day of Action Toolkit

Don’t miss out on the Walk Out for Kids Day of Action! It’s a statewide coordinated day of action in which child care providers and child care centers will Walk Outa nd take action to save child care for Illinois kids—both for today and for the future.

Each child care provider and child care center is encouraged to plan their own action, based on their resources and circumstances.

By planning and carrying out your own day of action activities—no matter how small—you’ll be contributing to the overall day of action which will attract the attention of the media, the public and our elected representatives—including Governor Rauner and key legislators—through the number of actions happening throughout the day and the widespread activity throughout the entire state.

WALK OUT FOR KIDS STATEWIDE DAY OF ACTION
Wednesday, March 18

Download a Toolkit below for resources for your day of action, including a planning guide, flyer, new media guide and guide for making signs!

Walk Out for Kids Toolkit (English, Word Doc)

Walk Out for Kids Toolkit (English, PDF)

Walk Out for Kids Toolkit (Spanish, Word Doc)

Walk Out for Kids Toolkit (Spanish, PDF)

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We Rise: Thousands of Families, Workers Mobilize Across the Country to Reclaim Stake in Government

action_Rauner_2nd_floor_03_11_15_580wOver 1,500 Illinoisans Take Stand Against Rauner’s Budget Cuts, Call for More Revenue

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2015

Contact: James Muhammad, james.muhammad@seiuhcil.org
Springfield ABC: 1,500 Protesters Fight Gov. Rauner’s Extreme Budget Cuts for “WE RISE” Actions

Springfield NBC 17: “WE RISE!” Protests Swarm State Capitol to Fight Gov. Rauner’s Budget Cuts

Springfield CBS 3 6pm: Protesters Fight Gov. Rauner’s Cuts; Sen. Manar Says Lawmakers Need “Specifics”

Springfield CBS 3 5pm: “WE RISE” Protests Swarm State Capitol to Fight Gov. Rauner’s Budget Cuts

SPRINGFIELD — Today, over 1,500 Illinois residents from community, faith and labor organizations occupied Illinois’ state capitol to demand that Governor Rauner and legislators stop trying to balance the budget on the backs of working families.

A large group of demonstrators stood up in the House gallery at the start of the legislative session and chanted for the legislators to balance the budget by raising revenue from big corporations, LaSalle Street financial firms, and the 1%. Police officers were unable to remove the demonstrates from the House gallery because a second group of demonstrators linked arms and blocked the exit daring officers to arrest them.

Another 18 people linked arms outside Governor Rauner’s second floor office to protest proposed cuts to child care, even as a group of children played in front of them. A lack of adequate revenue for the current fiscal year will leave many families without options. Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) has completely run out of money and needs a $300 million emergency funding bill to save the vital program that supports low-wage parents and allows them to work and go back to school. Fast food workers also delivered a petition with over 7,000 names calling on Governor Rauner to find funding for this program.action_sitting_down_Rauner_2nd_floor_03_11_15

“The Bible says, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. Our elected officials must defend the programs and services that save lives in our communities, and they should resolve our budget crisis by requiring those who can afford to pay more – like corporations and the wealthy – to do so,” said Rev. Charles Straight of IRON. “The members of my congregation in Dolton, along with regular people all over the state, have never recovered from the financial crash of 2008. They are struggling to make ends meet. Governor Rauner’s budget cuts will devastate working families and our communities.”Rauner_puppets_03_11_15

Beverly Hill, a child care provider in Harvey, Ill., called Gov. Rauner’s assault on child care services shameful.“How can the Governor claim to be working for ‘the next generation’, as he often says, when he is cutting a lifeline from underneath them? As a child care provider, I provide a safe, nurturing environment with enriching activities that prepare children to succeed in school and in life. The care I provide makes it possible for their parents to work or attend school. I’m here to tell Gov. Rauner to close the loopholes on corporations and the wealthy so they can finally pay their fair share to generate the revenues where we can invest in our families.”

“This about demonstrating our collective power and telling Springfield politicians they need to put people first,” said Action Now member Adeline Bracey. “Around elections politicians claim to care about voters but as soon as they are in office they look out for themselves. We simply won’t put up with it anymore.”

The day of action concluded with a funeral for the 99% outside of the Governor’s mansion.

“We know that if we sit by and doing nothing it means the death of the middle class, the death of the safety net for our most vulnerable, it means the death of the 99%,” said Sonny Garcia, a resident of Bloomington and member of Illinois People’s Action.

“We’re gathered here today because Bruce Rauner is balancing the budget on our backs. We’re here to say, ‘Enough is enough!’ We are calling for the rich to pay their fair share – such as a tax on LaSalle Street bankers, a millionaires’ tax a ‘fair income tax’, and to close corporate tax loopholes,” said Eugene Lim of ONE Northside in Chicago.

Demonstrators joined thousands of families and workers with National People’s Action, The Center for Popular Democracy and USAction who held mobilizations in 18 states across the country sending a clear message: Our families are taking our government back.

Key social media channels with content from today’s events:
#WeRise #WeRiseIL #NoCuts #twill

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200 Illinois Home Care Leaders Unite in Chicago, Kicking off Fight for $15 & Home Care for All

DSC_2219On Saturday, February 28, home care workers from across Illinois traveled to Chicago to kickoff the campaign for $15 and home care services for all who need them. The morning opened with a town hall meeting where home care workers, consumers, allies, and academics spoke out about the dire need to raise home care wages and expand services to more seniors and people with disabilities. Chicago home care worker Tracy Daily shared her day to day struggles living on low wages, see her remarks here:

Other speakers included home care worker Liliana Cordero, home care consumer Larry Biondi, Katie Jordan with the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, and UIUC Professor Marc Doussard.

DSC_2215

State Representative Christian Mitchell after signing onto our pledge to join the home care fight for $15 and expanded home care services.

Several lawmakers attended including, State Representative Mary Flowers, State Representative Christian Mitchell, State Senator William Delgado, State Senator Daniel Biss, and mayoral candidate Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Electeds listened intently to stories being shared and then closed the event by pledging their support to the campaign publicly. The event was heavily covered by Chicago media, click here to see clips from the major news networks.

After a break for lunch, workers participated in various trainings to hone skills for the upcoming fight, like Organizing 101, How to Plan an Action, Spokesperson Training, Lobbying 101, Disability Awareness, Representational Training, and a teach-in on economic inequality.

Everyone left with a renewed commitment to the fight for $15 and home care for all, armed with new knowledge and skills to take on the challenges ahead!

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Hundreds of Parents, Children and Child Care Providers Hold Major Lobby Day to Demand Immediate Funding to Save Program for Families

Kids_save_child_care_Springfield_lobby_day_rally_580w02_26_15Working Parents Say They Need the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to Continue to Work to Provide for Their Families; Will Push Governor and Legislators for an Immediate Solution for Crisis

(FEBRUARY 26, 2015, Springfield)–Working parents, single moms, children and child care providers organized a major rally inside the State Capitol about the dire consequences if Governor Rauner and state legislators fail to find the emergency funding necessary to save and continue the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The CCAP program has completely run out of money needs an emergency funding bill worth $300 million.

Working families strongly urged Gov. Rauner and the state legislature not to play politics with the lives of child care providers, single moms and dads, and low-income families and children – and instead work towards an immediate solution.

See a slide show, press clips and videos from the lobby day and action in front of Gov. Rauner’s office:

Springfield WCIX 49: Working Parents to Gov. Rauner: Pass Emergency Funding to Save Child Care

Springfield CBS: Hundreds of Parents, Providers Rally at State Capitol to Save Child Care Program

Springfield ABC: Gov Rauner Says State Is “Close” to Passing Emergency Funding to Save Child Care

Parents say that unless Gov. Rauner and legislative leaders take urgent action, they will be forced to quit their jobs or make dramatic changes, such as having to uproot their families to live with family members, just so they can find child care while they work.

Recent reports indicate that the Governor and legislators have stopped working together in order to fill the CCAP budget hole, even as parents are starting to lose access to child care and face catastrophic consequences.

Despite Governor Bruce Rauner’s statements in support of working families and the CCAP program during last week’s budget address, the figures in his proposed budget tell a very different story–that the Governor is prioritizing senseless and unnecessary cuts over the desperate and immediate need of working families to keep affordable and accessible child care.

Since the Governor’s budget address, there’s been little progress by either legislators or the Governor to find an immediate solution to make sure that the program can continue uninterrupted for the over 100,000 parents in the state who rely upon child care to support their children parents work or back to school.

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