CHICAGO–Following is the statement of Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, on the passage of a budget in both houses and the state’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment:
“Our members and the vulnerable populations of seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families that they serve have experienced the devastating consequences in recent years of Governor Rauner’s taking the state budget hostage in order to push his own anti-working family agenda.
“We applaud our champions in the General Assembly who have continued to stand for these vulnerable populations, making sure that healthcare, home care and child care services are priorities.
“Our members welcome the close to 5% rate increase budgeted for child care providers, many of whom currently provide invaluable services to struggling families while making poverty level wages themselves. But, we also appeal to our lawmakers to invest more in home healthcare, for example, by providing a rate increase to the tens of thousands of workers who care for seniors, a step that would help to stabilize a workforce so desperately needed by those who depend on them.
“The fact that the state escaped with no cuts to Medicaid—and with real help being provided to safety net hospitals like Roseland–means that we are no longer going backward when it comes to providing health care to those in the state who need it most.
“It is our hope that the progress evident in this year’s budget process will keep going forward, and that the momentum will continue to help heal the damage done to Illinois working families in recent years by the Governor’s obstructionism and short-sighted cuts to vital programs.
“Of course, the best evidence of that will be for the Governor to immediately sign this budget into law, so the state’s most vulnerable residents can begin to benefit from it.”