Letters: State of Compassion?

Staff Writer
Morton Times-News

I have worked in the non-profit field in the State of Illinois for 20 years. For this state to say it’s compassionate to the most vulnerable and the ones in need is highly debatable. 

This column isn’t meant to be a political rant because honestly, it hasn’t mattered what party is in office ... there’s always such a fear of the unknown in this state.  Don’t get me wrong, we have great relationships with many local legislators such as representatives Unes and Sommer and Sen. Koehler. They have all assisted TCRC in many ways over the years and for that I am truly grateful. But they are only a few of the players in this game and certainly seem to be the minority.  Every year about this time, I have to stare at budgets and wonder how many families or people we serve will go without because the social service field is the “low hanging fruit” in the eyes of the powers that be.  Wondering how many programs will be funded, wondering how much mental health services will be eliminated, wondering what will happen to individuals with autism, wondering what will happen to families who need respite care for their loved ones ... wondering, wondering, wondering. The state of Illinois currently ranks in the lower 10 percent of the country in funding levels for people with developmental disabilities and now the proposed budget plan for next year is eliminating respite services completely and instilling  a 12.5 percent cut to all funding for those in Intermediate Care Facilities. To TCRC alone, this means a reduction of $160,000 in revenue. I just don’t understand. I believe the term that the current administration is using is “we all have to tighten our belts”. How is this possible when “we all” haven’t had a rate adjustment for close to 10 years but have seen inflation increase by 12 percent. We are expected to follow unfunded mandates and do so with unbelievably compassionate staff that we can only afford to pay barely more than minimum wage.  Legislators, law makers, and decision makers, please walk a day in our shoes before you vote for more cuts to social services.

Jamie Durdel

President & CEO

TCRC, Inc. – Tazewell County Resource Centers