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Illinois Gov. Rauner's Budget Cuts and Corporate Tax Breaks Are Confusing to Some

At a hearing before the Senate's two appropriations committees Tuesday at the Capitol to discuss the cuts, all sides vented their frustrations.
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"For all these agencies to get a letter on April 3, Good Friday and Passover, it was a real kick in the gut."
--Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge)

"This experience right now is like watching an arsonist criticize the fireman for the manner in which he put out the arsonist's fire."
--Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine)

"It's not easy for me as a mom, or parents in general, to say they need help raising their child, in my case my children. But when you have a child with autism, or children with autism, especially severe autism, you have to ask for help. You can't get by without asking for help. And [the Autism Project] is our hope."
--Whitney Rikas, mother of two autistic children

Those quotations sum up the emotions in the Capitol over Gov. Bruce Rauner's April 3 cut of $26 million in social-service programs, including an end to state funding of an autism program used by thousands of autistic Illinoisans and their families.

At a hearing before the Senate's two appropriations committees Tuesday at the Capitol to discuss the cuts, all sides vented their frustrations.

To Democrats it was the "Good Friday Massacre," a double-cross by the Republican governor after securing their votes on emergency budget bills. They voted for those bills at Rauner's behest because they believed the bills contained assurances that programs like the Autism Project would be protected.

To Republicans it was a painful yet necessary act by an administration that, for the first time in 12 years, will not play numbers games or push this year's expenses into next year. It was the Democrats' fault for passing a budget last year knowing that it did not have enough money to get the state through the year. Filling the $1.6-billion hole they created meant hard choices.

(Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.)

Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek also shared her two cents on Rauner's plans of cuts and credits in an effort to balance the budget.

Doubek addressed a public letter to the governor:

Dear Gov. Rauner:

Congratulations, you've now been our fearless leader in Illinois for 90 days. And yes, fearless fits, doesn't it?

You didn't waste much time delivering the bad news on the budget and showing Illinoisans exactly what it means to spend only what the state takes in, or less. It means pain. Deep, gut-wrenching pain....

...To the people watching from the silent middle, many of whom do want to see you succeed, it didn't make much sense when you cut off $26 million in funding to people who help needy teens, immigrants, developmentally disabled children and adults, and those with HIV and AIDS. And then soon came word that you'd granted $100 million in business tax credits. You said the credits were negotiated by your predecessor and you were fulfilling them because of "an issue of credibility with the business community."

The optics are bad, governor. All those poor, sick and needy people and those who love them have an issue of credibility with you now. Your press staff said it had to be done to solve the budget mess Democrats created last year. You didn't create that mess, but you will be blamed for some of these cuts.

(Read the rest at Reboot Illinois.)


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