The following statement was released by SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley on the signing of the state budget today by Gov. Rauner:
CHICAGO — Even though it took him nearly his whole term – and hopefully his only term – to do so, Gov. Rauner has finally signed a budget.
The signing provides a sense of short-term relief from the constant attacks by Rauner on a range of people and frontline providers that rely on state funding and services to exist.
Even so, it will take years to repair the extensive damage his obstinate opposition to talking across the aisles to do the one thing he was elected to do – pass a budget. His fixation on pushing a “turnaround agenda” has taken the state close to bankruptcy and made Illinois the butt of fiscal jokes across the country.
In the wake of his disastrous “leadership,” we have seen seniors and people with disabilities in a constant state of anxiety as he has obsessed over cutting services, all in an attempt to weaken unions whose members do the work.
Rauner has crippled thousands of parents and children who depended on a stable childcare program that he drastically cut before being forced to backtrack and restore some of the services. Still, his impact on the program has been “devastating,” to put it in the words of the former head administrator of the state’s child services program whom he fired for telling the truth.
Let’s be clear, Rauner has left no stone unturned in his efforts to get his way. Just ask the state colleges that have almost closed, or the students who have been forced to seek higher education in other states.
There is still lots of work to be done. The budget excludes a rate increase for low wage home healthcare workers that would have gone a long way to stabilize the workforce and attract more and better qualified candidates. Medicaid is still under threat by a governor who won’t stand up to Trump to fight for Illinoisans who need services.
If there is one good thing Gov. Rauner has done for the people of Illinois, it is signing this budget. The next thing he can do is leave the office.