- Published: 01 February 2016
If you drive by the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and Forest Preserve Drive on the Northwest Side of Chicago, you will see a half-completed building that is meant to house Illinois veterans who need medical care.
It sits untouched since July 1, when construction was brought to a halt as a result of the budget impasse.
A $2 million grant that would have built out a vacant portion of village hall in Harwood Heights—putting it to good use instead of letting it continue to be only a storage space—remains suspended, for the same reason.
Social services for the disabled, elderly, mentally ill, poor and veterans have disappeared. MAP grants, which help low-income students pay for college, along with funding for community colleges are unfunded.
And the list goes on.
So far, investments like these have become symbols of the budget impasse, with plans in place and funds pulled.
In his second State of the State address, Governor Rauner said, “There’s a serious deficit in public trust when it comes to government in Illinois.” And I can see why. When projects have gotten a green light and some have even begun construction, that is no time to re-evaluate the state’s commitment to our communities and pull the rug out from under them.
The governor is right about one thing: We can’t wait any longer.
It is time for us to come together and solve the issues that face our state; otherwise, we will continue down the path that has led to the erosion of social services—and higher education in Illinois.
While we can’t walk back the clock and take back some of the mistakes made in the past year that have caused people harm, I remain hopeful that together we can work towards bipartisan legislation that would benefit all people in Illinois.
Compromise is the path we should be taking, and I look forward to seeing my fellow legislators and the governor do just that.