Crisis in IL: Rauner’s unbalanced proposal that harms children, poor and those who need help the most

Rauner has recently shared his recommendations for budget cuts as governor.  His recommendations are completely slanted against the poor, elderly, and children and “weaker” participants of society, including cuts to Early Intervention, mental health, children who suffer from bullying, Project Autism, aid to assist low income working parents and the list goes on (click to view an article).  Even though I am told that this should have little/no effect on the services that Luke receives (due to the fact that he has Down syndrome), this is completely socially IRRESPONSIBLE!

Rauner may be fortunate to be one of the wealthiest 11K people in the state of Illinois, and that exclusivity may have made him lose the ability to be compassionate (studies have shown that the extremely wealthy have less ability to be empathetic and have difficulty relating to those who have had difficulties).  In any case, meeting budget goals through cuts that seem to affect the majority of people out there who are the ones in need of the most help, and seem to make the most benefits (or little penalty) for wealthy individuals and corporations (who benefit the wealthy) seem quite unbalanced.  I am in favor of a more fiscally responsible budget, but I believe it should be balanced and fair, and decisions like it is proposing on Early Intervention doesn’t make social or financial sense since it would cost the state 700-2400% more in the future.  Not funding EI does not make financial sense!  The proposal as it stands makes Rauner lose credibility as a public servant in my perspective.  Please do your job and serve the public, not just wealthy constituents like yourself!

Hiring some expensive consulting company that draws up some fancy McKinsey-like lofty powerpoint presentations with 6 different graphs on a single slide but with no CLUE about the repercussions of such recommendations long term (even being more costly in the end) or any idea of how to implement them appropriately is irresponsible.  Seriously?  a 50% criteria for Early Intervention? I can bet they didn’t consult therapists and childhood development experts to make that suggestion.  This just goes to show you that neither Rauner nor the highly paid consulting firm he hired have NO clue on how to run a government as the government must also serve the neediest in the state (such as children with delays or disabilities).

Mr. Rauner has said, ““Like a family, we must come together to address the reality we face. Families know that every member can’t get everything they want.” (Click to view.)  Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?  Where are the tax increases on the wealthy or removing tax loopholes that benefit corporations (and in return benefit the wealthy)?  Are you really that self-serving?  So you’re Scrooge at the head of the table eating turkey and all the fixings and then saying we need to cut the one loaf of bread to share among all at the children’s table in half?  So is that your idea of “working as a family?”  I am so upset that I am literally shaking.

So let’s talk about your biggest areas of cuts (click to view).  We know Rauner is anti-union, which isn’t surprising as he is a wealthy businessman.  But this reeks of “payback” for his own distaste for those kinds of organizations and trying to remove power from them to serve your own agenda.  However, I’m not an expert on pension plans and I cannot talk fairly about whether these cuts make sense or not.  There may possibly be some recommendations here that make sense and could possibly be necessary.  That’s not my point.  But the fact that Rauner groups cuts in Early Intervention and eliminating other services to children, the elderly and the poor with no similar penalty on the wealthy is what I have a problem with.  That is self-serving, unjust and a misuse of power.  There are much better ways to solve the state’s financial crisis that are more fair and more socially responsible.

So in the scheme of at least $129-130B in cuts, you think cutting programs like Early Intervention of $23M is going to make or break you?  That is a drop in the bucket as a % of the total, yet says VOLUMES about you as a person.  We need programs like Early Intervention to help children at a critical development stage to give them the best chance of success for the rest of your lives.  And you think saving the state $23M is worth depriving these innocent children of such services when they need it the most?  Do you even know what a 50% delay looks like?  Do you know that you are asking to cut services if a child who clearly needs these services happens to improve and drops below 50% must then stop receiving these services and lose potential forward progress?  What about the other programs that help our children – anti bullying, Project Autism, etc.?  I can’t imagine we are talking billions of dollars there either.  So you want to demolish all these programs that help our children for a mere drop in the bucket?  I know that you and your cronies could pony up much more than that with even a miniscule increase in taxes on the wealthy, but that wasn’t even put on the table.  What does that say about you as a public servant?  Would people still elect you next term now that they’ve seen your true colors?

Where are the ideas about the flip side of the equation such as using Rauner’s influence and connections to bring businesses and jobs to the state instead of just focusing on budget cuts?  I know that this is harder and takes more investment in ideas, time and resources, but instead of creating a butcher shop of services, where is the PowerPoint presentation on job creation and bringing business to IL?  Rauner, why can’t you reach out to your cronies and create a “small business” version of Shark Tank?  Or why can’t you work with banks and property owners to better utilize commercial or office space that is sitting unused?  Or are there government properties that could also be utilized to help spur businesses?  They could invest by giving small business owners or seedling corporations “property loans” meaning reduced or free rent until the businesses are on their feet and making profit to pay them back.  The property is sitting unused anyway and they could decide which businesses to invest in.  So there would be no “tax” incentives to bring in business into the state but others by helping other businesses utilize unused assets and using those assets as an investment to help spur business.  Wouldn’t this help bring business back to IL?  Why couldn’t something like that work?  Where are those out-of-the-box thinking and solutions?  Because I can tell you that what is being proposed is NOT the answer – far from it.

For those who argue that this is a political rant, it may or may not be.  I tend not to get involved politically, but this is an area that affects me personally and has gotten me rather upset.  So I would argue this is about Rauner’s completely unbalanced recommendations that harm the “weaker” components of society with no offsetting penalty on the rich (at least that I know of).  This to me is an abuse of power.  This tells me that this man cares about no one but himself.  And if you did vote for Rauner, hoping that he will bring jobs to the state or get the state out of its budget crisis, this is NOT the solution.  There are so many better ways to accomplish budget goals and raise tax revenue than what he is proposing, and that are more socially responsible options than what is being discussed.  It is NOT too late to contact your representatives and let them know that this is NOT right.  The government is here to serve the people, and this is an explosive case where it is more self-serving the wealthy than it is serving the people.

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