John Bouman in the New York Times: Drastic Cutbacks in Illinois

Submitted on Mon, 05/02/2016 - 10:02

Thank you for your editorial about Illinois and Kansas as examples of states where policy makers do more harm than good (“Sorry Tales From Two Statehouses,” April 25).

Illinois’ record 10-month budget impasse is eroding much of its educational and social service systems. According to a poll of 444 Illinois social service providers, 85 percent are scaling back on the number of clients they serve.At least 3,200 homebound seniors have lost home-delivered hot meals.

Service agencies have laid off experienced and talented staff members, perhaps never to get them back. Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the state’s largest social service provider, announced that it would cut 43 percent of its work force.

And all 29 Illinois agencies serving sexual assault survivors have instituted furloughs or left unfilled positions vacant, leaving survivors without essential services.

The damage is permanent, not easily or perhaps ever remedied. Even when funding is restored, we won’t simply return to business as usual. Ours is a real-life example for governments considering a similar path.

JOHN BOUMAN

President, Sargent Shriver

National Center on Poverty Law

Chicago