Friday, February 20, 2015

Rauner's Compassion? "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!"

…And, boy, did we…"
Rauner’s Compassion?  “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet…”

You may not have noticed this, but sunsets in winter are often much more colorful than in the summer.  With the humidity gone and less cloud cover, the pinks and purple hues are more pronounced.  Of course, this is because the western sky foretells an even colder weather the next day…and the next, and so on.  Welcome to the Midwest.

It’s 20 below wind-chill tonight, and the homeless begin arriving at shelters in the colorful dusk waiting for any opportunity for food and a warm mattress for the night.  Many are chronic sufferers of a world that has left them or their meds behind.  Others arrive newly down on their luck, without a job but sometimes with children.  Expressions range from fear, confusion, anger, to plaintive.

Nor Passion...
Thank your lucky stars…

But if the stars have aligned against you, or if your medical condition or workplace incident left you penniless, or if your own precarious stability in rough economic seas has left you like a broken but now tormented dream, DO NOT COUNT ON THE NEW GOVERNOR TO CARE AT ALL.

Some startling specifics from Housing Action Illinois (


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Governor Rauner’s Budget Devastating for Efforts to End Homelessness: Let Your Legislators Know You Support a Responsible Budget with Adequate Revenue
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released his fiscal year 2016 budget proposal yesterday. As we expected, Governor Rauner’s plan to solve Illinois’ longstanding budget problems includes devastating cuts to vital human service programs that meet the needs of people with the lowest incomes. Governor Rauner has increasingly called for “shared sacrifice” as of late, but his budget only calls for sacrifices from the most vulnerable among us.
Regarding the programs that most directly impact efforts to end homelessness and create affordable housing, we don’t have exact numbers in every area, as full budget details were not released.   However, this is what we understand Governor Rauner proposes to spend next year compared to the current year budget and our estimate of the reduction in households experiencing or at-risk of homelessness that will not be served:
   Supportive Housing Services:  A cut from $30.8 million to $16.7 million that would end services to 3,525 households.
   Homeless Prevention Program: A cut from $4 million to $3 million that would mean 955 more households become or stay homeless next year.
   Homeless Youth Program: A cut from $5.6 million to $2.5 million that would end shelter and services for 1,316 youth.
   Emergency and Transitional Housing: Flat funding at $9.4 million with 100% of funds paying for the program continuing to be diverted from the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is intended to build actual housing units, not cover the costs of social services.  At this year’s funding level, we estimate that more than 42,000 people will be served, but that funded programs will turn away people more than 55,000 times due to lack of bed capacity.
Overall, the proposed funding cuts for all these programs is 36% and we estimate that nearly 6,000 households will not be served.
Cuts to other types of human service programs were often similarly severe, including cuts to community care programs, mental health programs, substance abuse programs and many others.
Our state’s budget problems have been made much worse because the 5% income tax was lowered on January 1. The benefits of the tax decrease are primarily going to people with the highest incomes.
According to data released by the Center on Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA), more than half (54.4%) of the dollar value of the tax relief from the reduction in the state’s personal income tax will to the wealthiest 11.8% of tax filers in Illinois. Millionaires do particularly well, as they will receive an average annual tax break of $36,797 per year. The bottom 50% of income earners in Illinois will fare particularly poorly, receiving just 8.1% of the total tax break generated by the phase-down of the state’s personal income tax rate. So much of the tax relief goes to upper income families in Illinois, that it will actually worsen income inequality in the state.
We have until the end of May to appeal to our state legislators and Governor Rauner to create a state budget with adequate revenue needed to put Illinois on a path to sustainable prosperity for everyone.
Please contact your state legislators and let them know you are not happy with the proposed budget and that you expect them to do their best of pass a responsible budget, including revenue increases.


  1. You can't really be surprised. It's fascism headed our way. Austerity equals fascism, courtesy of the Koch Brothers/ALEC and all the greedy Rauners at the top who hate the rest of us.

  2. Indeed, John, we live in a country where the Democratic/Republican Party System is failing us; where venture capitalists like Rauner and hedge fund billionaires are buying and destroying our democracy; where 401(k) s are fraudulent games of theft and greed played within the wealthy financial sector; where numerous senators and representatives are pawns of the American Legislative Exchange Council; where “the privatization of health services has corresponded closely with skyrocketing costs, leaving millions of Americans without access to care or deeply in debt for seeking treatment for their illnesses,” and where homeless people don't matter.

    We live in a country where a major credit-rating agency was accused of “manipulating pension data”; where “Koch-supported groups have strongly worked behind the scenes on the federal and local levels to eradicate Social Security and Medicare as overly costly entitlements given to working class people,” and where the Koch Brothers and major corporations sponsor pension reform seminars for judges.

    We live in a country where breaking a constitutional contract with retirees and public employees is deemed morally and legally justifiable by legislative liars and thieves; where public employees and retirees are victims of plutocratic, concentrated economic privilege and power that accommodates and reinforces an enormous inequality of organizational resources for corporate self-seekers; where public schools are for sale; where public school teachers have been assaulted by a barrage of attacks on their autonomy, dignity and self-respect; where labor unions have lost political power and influence; where there is no pay equity or job security for college adjunct faculty, and where “memories of the university as a citadel of democratic learning have been replaced by a university eager to define itself largely as an adjunct of corporate power.”

    We live in a country where the plutocratic free market theory caters to self-interested desires and profit to the detriment of millions of Americans, while promising “freedom and prosperity;” where Free market principles advocate that the rich and poor should be taxed at the same flat rate, despite creating a vast inequity; where education, health care, retirement pensions, national parks (and most any function intrinsic to essential governing) become privatized to reap in more profits; where publicly-owned companies, services and their assets are auctioned off to private investors; that besides allocating vast amounts of wealth and resources from public to private ownership, there is a transfer of private debts to the public sector while public ownership and service are systematically dismantled.

    Contacting mostly corrupt legislators? How about contacting union leaders and telling them we need to organize serious resistance?

  3. On Florida's Space Coast in Brevard County, the homeless are allowed to rent tents to sleep overnight in selected public parks. No tent, no sleeping. Violators are subject to arrest and/or forceful relocation. Sociopath Gov. Rick Scott and all the Brevard County Commissioners feel that this is the right way to incentivize the homeless to stop being homeless.
    There is a sickness among these officials.

  4. This is all a squeeze play intended to force a choice between unions and human services and affordable housing. By forcing us to throw the unions under the bus, Rauner is hoping to raise his profile in the republican pantheon. But the unions aren't the culprits here. It's this obsession with low taxes, and that is the fabrication of the Rauner administration. Shame on him.