People with developmental disabilities in Illinois are going without services that make their lives better because there’s not enough money, according to a Chicago Tribune article.
“Nearly 20,000 adults with developmental disabilities are waiting for help from the state to live on their own”, describes how the state has failed to meet court-approved targets that will help integrate them into the wider community and provide opportunities for growth.
The article didn’t go into whey there isn’t enough money to, for
Susie Redfern and her son, Nick, who has autism, at their Aurora home on Nov. 13, 2019. The Redferns have been on the Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services list, a waitlist for disabilities services in Illinois for years. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
example, attract competent and professional staff to facilities and institutions or to expand quality programs.
But here’s the answer: the state’s policies make paying government pensions a lot more important than providing programs for developmentally disabled Illinoisans.
A study by the Illinois Policy Institute pulls no punches:
Pension costs already make up 25 percent of Illinois’ budget – a massive amount considering the average for other states is only 4 percent. Those costs have been crowding out funding for the state’s vital services.
Such short-changed “vital services” as discussed in the Tribune’s article. Or a long list of other services, including state aid for education, health and medical programs, drug addiction and more and more and more.
Those services don’t have the kind of protections that are guaranteed by the Illinois constitution that lays down an iron-clad rule that government employee pensions cannot be reduced, meaning that they can’t even be touched for common sense reforms.
Illinois politicians of both parties share the blame, but credit Democrats, who receive the bulk of organized labor’s campaign contributions, for the current catastrophe.
So, merrily we go along, acting as if pensions are just fine, no need for reform. Even when it makes life difficult,, if not miserable, for the developmentally disabled people described in the Tribune article.
My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812
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