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Hundreds gather for rally against budget cuts

June 19, 2009 4:32:46 AM PDT
Hundreds gathered at the Thompson Center for a rally against threatened budget cuts in social services in Illinois. The protestors said lawmakers and the governor are putting politics before people.

The governor warns that cuts will be necessary if lawmakers don't help him balance the state's budget before the fiscal year begins July 1.

The public has been hearing some warnings about the cost of cuts. Today the warning was deafening as protestors took their concerns to the building that houses many state offices.

The message was clear.

"We will not stand by and let politics trump the needs of people in our state," one protestor told the crowd.

Hundreds of protestors filled the plaza of the Thompson Center. They represent the thousands of social service providers who face cuts if legislators don't approve funding to continue services.

"We have 90 children in foster care that we take care of. If they cut foster care payments, 45 to 60 percent of our foster kids would be dropped on our door step," said Stephen Vick, Association House of Chicago.

"Things like this are frustrating to me and it's hard to talk with young people about why the system works when it feels like it doesn't," said Adam Alonso, Corazon Community Services.

Protestors say Illinois families depend on social services.

"I have nowhere to go with my daughter. There's no where to go with her. She will end up staying at home," said Amy Grau, Parent of Special Needs Child.

Darlene and Brian Kizer says their foster children have thrived with the help of state funded programs like daycare.

"If they kill the daycare we are in trouble. We are really in trouble because that means we may have to look back and give them back to the people because I can't afford to take care of the household by myself," said Brian Krizer, foster parent.

One protest included a dramatic visual of a child in a coffin and the slogan, "governor's budget cuts equal death."

"Let them take cut off their budget, let them take pay cuts," said Gwendolyn Baxter, Greater Roseland Community Committee Youth Voices Against Violence.

Many of the protestors blame one politician for holding up the process.

"We are personally holding Michael Madigan responsible. We are Democrats, I'm a democrat and we are in office and we are running things and we're being ignored," said Kimberly Johnson , Marcy-Newberry Association.

"He's playing a political game using my children as pawns. I'm over him. He's setting the tone for his daughter to be governor. I'm over him," said Karen Borden.

Some providers says they've already received noticed of cuts to take effect the end of the month and are laying off employees.

Another ripple effect of budget cuts is that social services would be affected and jobs would also be lost.


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