CEASE AND DESIST: SEIU Healthcare Illinois Calls on Rauner Group to Withdraw Deceptive Dunkin Child Care Television Ad

Made-Up Numbers Used to Praise Made-Up Claim: State’s Own Figures Show 48,000 Fewer Kids Get Care

CHICAGO-A leader from the union that represents state child care providers on Monday called on Illinoisans for Growth and Opportunity (Illinois GO), widely considered a Republican front group, to withdraw a television ad running on behalf of Bruce Rauner ally Rep. Ken Dunkin because of massive misrepresentations regarding damage the couple has caused to the Child Care Assistance Program—and ignoring the state’s own figures showing 48,000 fewer children in the program.

The ad from the deep-pocketed Republican group, which apparently began running this weekend, includes the outrageous claim by Dunkin that he “restored childcare funding” to 100,000 Illinois children. In fact,  CCAP has NOT been restored and is reportedly downtens of thousands of children (citations below), the consequence of unilateral action by Bruce Rauner that was enabled by Ken Dunkin’s refusal to back legislation protecting eligibility.

Illinois GO is citing Ken Dunkin’s made-up numbers in an ad praising Ken Dunkin’s made-up numbers, and ignoring the fact that Rauner has said that he will make new cuts to the program thanks to the enabling Dunkin “deal.”

In a letter to Illinois GO (attached), Brynn Seibert, SEIU Healthcare Illinois vice president for child care, called on Illinois GO to tell the truth about child care in Illinois and withdraw the deceptive new ad:

“The cuts put in place by Bruce Rauner, and enabled by Ken Dunkin now and forever, have done permanent damage to a program that has served as a bipartisan model for helping working families enter the middle class. Not only is the 100,000 kids figure entirely made up out of whole cloth and without any basis in fact, it is a reminder of the cynicism of politicians like Ken Dunkin and Bruce Rauner, who are using vulnerable people as pawns in a political game that is harming the welfare of Illinois….

“On behalf of the tens of thousands of kids and working families who have been harmed by Ken Dunkin’s and Bruce Rauner’s cuts to child care in Illinois and who remain in their crosshairs, we ask that you cease and desist and withdraw this deceptive ad.”

The FACTS about the Dunkin/Rauner cuts to child care:

On July 1st, Governor Rauner made destructive cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program by severely restricting eligibility and increasing parent co-payments, impairing an industry that local economies rely on.

  • These cuts even rendered full-time minimum wage earners ineligible. It’s estimated that more than 5,000 parents lost their jobs between July and October due to these cuts to affordable child care access[i].
  • As a result, 70% of parents in a survey reported being forced to alter their child care arrangements, and 88% said their ability to pay for their family’s day-to-day needs was affected, including paying for rent and food[ii].
  • In the first three months of the CCAP decimation, 69% of child care providers surveyed stated they were unable to meet at least one of their financial obligations, and 100 providers in Cook County reported closing their doors[iii].

Dunkin, meanwhile, met with child care providers and promised them to their face, as well as signed a written pledge, that he would vote for Senate Bill 570. The bill failed by his lone vote after he reneged.

Even after some of the cuts were partially reversed in early November as a result of the Dunkin-Rauner “deal,” the program remains severely diminished from the participation it had in Fiscal Year 2015.

  • Enrollment has dropped by 48,200 children between July and December compared to the same timeframe last year[iv].
  • It’s estimated that 10,000 children remain shut out of the program that would have been eligible before the July cuts were implemented[v].
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