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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Budget Cuts hurt the neediest; Shame on you, Illinois! April 21 2011 Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune
Letters; April 21, 2011

Shame on you, Illinois!

If indeed the greatness of a civilization is determined by how well it treats its least fortunate, then the U.S. in general and the state of Illinois in particular both fail miserably. It is a well-known fact among the disability community that Illinois ranks 51st in the nation (behind the other 49 states and the District of Columbia) for supporting citizens with developmental disabilities to live in their home communities. Common sense dictates that supports would be dramatically increased. But no, Governor Quinn's fiscal year 2012 proposed budget includes over $76 million in cuts to community disability services. These proposed cuts will hit low-income and minority families extremely hard and disproportionately.

There are over 21,000 adults and children waiting for services in the state's PUNS (Prioritization of Urgency of Needs for Services) database. How will these needs ever be met? In the autism community alone, there are thousands of persons in their late teens about to enter the world of adult services. What will happen to them, Illinois?

Governor Quinn, state senators, state representatives, and the good people of Illinois, do not turn your backs on your disabled brothers and sisters. Do the right thing and reject this inhumane and insensitive proposal.

-- Paul Eric Butler, President, Chicagoland Autism Connection

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