Chuck Sweeny | Rockford Register-Star: Selfish budget squabble putting real people in danger

From the Rockford Register-Star:

by Chuck Sweeny

I talked today by phone to Ed Gasbarra of Orland Park. He’d read one of my columns on the state’s budget impasse and asked me if there had been any progress in passing an Illinois budget for fiscal 2016.

On Wednesday we were a week into the new fiscal year without a budget. I told him no progress was being made.

Gasbarra needs to know because the state’s Department of Human Services pays him from $6,000 to $8,000 (it varies) a year to take care of his 60-year old brother, who has a serious mental illness.

Gasbarra doesn’t know what’s happening. Is the Home Services program being eliminated? Will it continue? Will he get paid? And if so, when will that be? He can’t get an answer.

“I called Home Services, and the woman said not only do they not know what’s happening with the budget, they don’t know if they will even have jobs after July 15,” Gasbarra said.

“I’ve heard (Gov. Bruce) Rauner wants to eliminate the program or drastically reduce eligibility. It’s penny wise and pound foolish,” he said, noting that putting his brother in a nursing home would cost many thousands of dollars more than the stipend he gets to care for the man.

Read the full article from the Rockford Register-Star