Community groups that work with immigrants in Chicago and throughout Illinois are worried that under the current budget their funding will be slashed and that they may have to cut programs and lay off staffers.
"I have some staff that I can't even tell them they'll be employed after the 1st of July," said Abel Nuñez, associate director of Centro Romero, a North Side agency that helps Central Americans in Chicago.
Around 62 percent of that agency's annual $1.3 million budget comes from state funding. It goes to fund a variety of programs, including English education, citizenship and domestic violence prevention.
"This limits our capacity as an agency to provide these needed services to the community," Nuñez said. "Where will they turn?"
Centro Romero is just one of dozens of agencies serving immigrants that is facing these cuts but there are many more that provide vital services to the broader Latino community, the African-American community, the elderly, the disabled, the homeless. The list goes on.
All of these social services would be impacted under the current budget.
The state is facing a $12 billion budget deficit and our Gov. Pat Quinn
is calling for an income tax increase. He has said he prefers that to
balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.
The current budget could result in $7 billion in cuts and slash budgets
for human services agencies by 50 percent. Quinn won't sign off on this.
I agree with the governor that we can't make all these drastic cuts in
social services. I'd be willing to pay more in taxes to be sure that
those services are maintained. But there are still areas of waste the
state can cut.
It's up to our governor and the legislators to make sure that the people most in need still have a safety net.