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Question of the day

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* Have you, your family or your friends been impacted by the state budget crisis? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


49 Comments
  1. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 7:54 am:

    Yep. Laid off June 30, 2009, from a university job due to the budget. I’m guessing the fallout will be worse this year…


  2. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:08 am:

    For me and family, can’t think of any direct impacts, fortunately. I do know some state employees who have had their overtime curtailed, and most of them, as well as the elementary/HS teachers I know, are concerned about the future of their pensions.


  3. - wizard - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:17 am:

    yep, raises cut and co-pays increased.


  4. - How Ironic - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:31 am:

    Yes, having to take furlough days.


  5. - Aldyth - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:37 am:

    I work in human services and my agency hasn’t been paid in months. I had to lay off a significant number of staff in the last 18 months because of cuts. More will be coming.


  6. - bored now - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:38 am:

    several non-profits (including the one my wife works for) have either slashed their budgets severely or closed. one non-profit in flossmoor, basically established by the late wife of a friend, shut its doors about six months ago.

    directly, my wife had to take 3 furlough days and seen our health insurance contribution go up.

    the major lesson of this recession has to be that the republican theory (i use the term loosely) that non-profits and other social agencies can and should replace government as our social safety net has been proven a massive failure. in fact, recessions mean that donors cut back and that there is no way to provide even emergency services based on private and corporate donors when they are most needed. *if* republicans and conservatives really believe in a free market capitalist system (and the qualifier is necessary because i’ve known way too many republican business owners who want government subsidies for *their* business or industry — just not for anyone else — both inside and outside of illinois), then they will have to find either the revenues for a safety net (i understand that this will come after they take their cut) or another means for pacifying those among us who are left out of our economy (generally by no fault of their own). a free market requires a stable marketplace as free of disruption as possible. economically distressed people are a severe threat to that…


  7. - Earnest - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:43 am:

    No raises for two years, employee insurance contribution doubled, 401k match dropped from 3% to 1%, Christmas gift and gathering eliminated, hours reduced, have to watch a low I.Q. person who normally wouldn’t have been stuck on a waiting list get arrested because he didn’t have enough structure in his life. Not monetary, but lots of stress and worry as well. What really scares me is, not further cuts in this year’s budgets, but failure to address the issues and possibly digging the hole deeper. We get by now by borrowing and paying interest ourselves, but it’s at the point that some banks will no longer loan money based on State of Illinois receivables.


  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:59 am:

    Not yet. Property taxes provide the lion’s share of our school funding. The CTA and Metra are still running. We have good health insurance. I haven’t been hit on the head by someone let out of prison early. We’re very fortunate.


  9. - VanillaMan - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:01 am:

    Of course. It saddens me to see how my friends in the human services have had to sacrifice with less pay, fewer benefits and continual threats of lay-offs. They’ve never been paid well, and have always made due with what they have left, sharing with less fortunates they have come to know and whom depend upon them for their daily needs.

    So, I have been kicking in more. My church has been kicking in more. We are recieving more requests from our usual charitable organizations, and we have been stepping up to do our part. Those of us with jobs are cutting back on our own expenses, and giving more to charities.

    The Haitian Earthquake was rough on us. The Chilean Earthquake wasn’t. The flooding we have seen in Massachusetts was expensive. VanillaMom has been spending time with UMCOR, volunteering with disaster aide.

    We will get through this. But Illinois’ state leadership has to be completely replaced with people who understand that our money is not theirs. We simply cannot depend upon governments run by fools.


  10. - ok - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:05 am:

    Teacher in the family received layoff notice.

    Family dentist practice might be shutting down due to cash flow problems.

    Friends are looking to move out of the school district to ones with higher property taxes and thus fewer budget cuts.

    Other friend’s non-profit may be closing due to late state payments.

    And then the indirects: crime, economy, etc.


  11. - Just the Basics - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:15 am:

    Husband taking 12 furlough days (not necessarily days without work, but days without pay).


  12. - Way Way Down Here - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:17 am:

    Friends, family, colleagues: dozens of layoffs in city, county, K-12, higher ed, law enforcement, social service agencies are closing, all in an area that can’t afford to lose anymore jobs. It might not seem real in Springfield, but it’s real down here.


  13. - Louis Howe - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:24 am:

    State Merit comp…furlough days cost about $5,000…no bonus cost…about $5,000….Salary income down about $10,000 from 2008.


  14. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:31 am:

    Retired teacher friends not getting the substitute teacher jobs after many districts cancelled school-time workshops, curriculum meetings, field trips, etc.

    Most of the downstate retirees I know depended on that extra income since many did not make the large salaries one reads about in the papers.


  15. - Fed up - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:41 am:

    Yes I’ve been traumatized by the incompetance of acting. Gov. Quinn and his grab for more of my hard earned money.


  16. - Vendor - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:44 am:

    You can only float payroll as a state vendor for so long before you can’t afford to keep up with the stop gap loans. 5 to 6 months behind in payment. What a joke.


  17. - zatoichi - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:44 am:

    Neighbors laid off for 6 months, state workers doing extensive mandatory overtime due to hiring freezes (logic need not apply), local social service agencies owed over 50% of their budget who are laying off staff and closing programs due to cash flow and non payment, huge health insurance jumps (25%-35%) that will wipe out any profit, local teachers being told they will not be rehired due to cuts, multiple supported employment (direct help for persons with severe disability remained employed) positions eliminated, successful local residential program stopped 24 hour care which almost immediately resulted in police involvement for behaviors of some people living there with no supervision.


  18. - LevivotedforJudy - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:56 am:

    I do work for a Veteran’s organization that was awarded a state grant last fall. They just received a letter this week from the administering agency stating they had no idea when they would get the check. Another friend lost her job when payments supporting the battered women’s assistance agency she worked at dried up.


  19. - casual observer - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:05 am:

    Personally, no raise in 4 years + furlough days = net loss. My wife’s business gets about 50% of their work from state agencies. Since they are about 6 months behind on payments they are turning down state work and concentrating on private business for income. State agencies continue to call and ask them to do more work. When my wife asks for their personal credit card for payment there response is “well, I can wait forever to get reimbursed” and my wife says “neither can I”…click.


  20. - Steve-O - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:06 am:

    3 of my close friends are teachers who have been given their pink slips. All 3 were fourth year teachers who were about to be tenured at the end of this school year. I also have 2 friends who were laid off from the county probation department, due to the state slashing funding to the county.


  21. - Just Wondering - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:09 am:

    My college freshman can’t find a summer job. Tuition and fees keep going up and I have real concerns about her ability to stay in school.


  22. - JoJo - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:17 am:

    No raise in 2 years, hours and salary cut. My company works on state projects so things are really drying up. See more cuts coming. People I know who work for the state directly are taking furlough days. Money is tight. Spending is down.


  23. - train111 - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:55 am:

    Wife works for the local school district. We were worried for a while about layoffs, but she was kept on. Several others in the district weren’t so lucky.

    train111


  24. - KEM - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:56 am:

    In reviewing the April 10 Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability meeting audio, it appears that State of Illinois retirees (especially those not yet medicare eligible) are being singled out and penalized for retiring, after the fact. According to the CMS Website, the monthly contribution for Quality Care insurance for a current state employee is $84.00. The cost for that employee’s dependent, domestic partner, sponsored adult child is $196.00 . According to the April 10 COGFA Meeting , costs for these groups will not increase. However, the proposed cost for retirees could be as high as $500.00 (on a reduced/fixed income). I will need my job back.


  25. - bman - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    Absolutely! As a state employee, it is becoming damn near imposible to do my work. Anybody with any authority is so paranoid all they are concerned with is CYA and not getting the work done. This is crazy!


  26. - Fed up - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    What is sad is that so many are dependent on the goverment for work.


  27. - dupage dan - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:31 am:

    The state agency I work for has secured some federal grants that have mitigated the state funding. Positions that open over the years during RBs terms are still not filled. That makes our jobs harder. We have a good group here - they may complain but they do good work. We worry much about the impact the non-payment to providers of services to the disabled will have. Our field staff report that many agencies are just barely hanging on. If some of the larger ones fail the effect would be catastrophic. We worry about that alot. Personally I am in a good position so am not personally affected. My wife works in county gov’t and her position is more precarious.

    I don’t understand bored now’s comment. We should learn the lesson that depending on non-profit agencies (what the GOP did) is somehow better than relying on the gov’t. Since many of these private non-profit agencies recieve gov’t funding, they troubles are directly a result of the gov’t not having enough $ to go around. Where do you think the money comes from, bored? Tough times hits everyone - and that reduces donations and revenues. The world is an unfair place. There are NO guarantees for ANYONE. If you believe that all risk and sadness can be eliminated I got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell ya.


  28. - Montrose - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:32 am:

    Fed up - people are sharing real hardship here. Save your comments for a more appropriate post.


  29. - Springfield Sceptic - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:32 am:

    Have taken 5 furlough days. Cost me about $4k.


  30. - dupage dan - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    I actually should have said that we should learn the lesson that depending on non-profit agences I(what the GOP did) is somehow WORSE than relying on the gov’t. I going to get some coffee, now.


  31. - dupage dan - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    Fed-up,

    Your comment is out of line. This is a blog about the state of Illinois. State employees are bound to be frequent commenters as a result. That is not a relative comparison to the public at large. Drive by comments like yours are useless.


  32. - Amuzing Myself - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:40 am:

    A retired relative’s very important medical treatment was recently canceled because the provider - having not been paid for so long by the State of Illinois - required payment up front that would be reimbursed after they receive the state’s payment. That the leadership in Springfield the last several years has allowed things to collapse to this point is all voters should need as reason to throw this bunch out. How could anyone else possibly do any worse!?!?


  33. - Honest Abe - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:41 am:

    Chicago Public Library branches are reducing their hours of operation. In an effort to maintain some services, the branches are rotating evening and night time hours: when one branch is closed, another branch somewhere in the same vicinity or a neighboring community is open.


  34. - QC - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:49 am:

    YES

    my friends who qualify for the Circuit Breaker program have had to deal with getting less rent/property tax assistance from the state - having a once a year grant check cut in half may not should like a hardship - but it certainly is when attempting to live on less than $10,000 per year


  35. - Linus - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:51 am:

    My wife has been RIF’d from her teacher job.

    One of our friends is a human-services provider trying to support her two little girls on her salary, alone … and the state-reimbursement backlog is not helping that little family put food on its table.

    Another friend has a son with serious mental health problems, who appears this/close to losing his services. And they don’t know where the hell they’ll turn then for affordable care. (The answer is: nowhere!)

    I cannot begin to tell you how disgusted I am with the lack of state leadership in solving these and thousands of other, similar problems.

    A general tax increase will cost Illinoisans far less than what they’ll pay for the loss of education and human-service jobs and the loss of critical public services.

    DO THE RIGHT THING and pass HB174 or something substantially similar!


  36. - Linus - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:54 am:

    Oh, yeah: And another friend who works in the world of substance-abuse treatment and prevention services is seeing his agency’s budget slashed for the second or third year in a row, with scores of layoffs resulting - and a lot of people back out on the street with addiction problems that’ll run-up the tab for society’s ills even more.

    Gimme 5 more minutes and I’ll think of 5 more examples.


  37. - One of the 35 - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:55 am:

    2.5% pay decrease.


  38. - yinn - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:55 am:

    Since 2002 I’ve been an independent contractor in staff training development for agencies that serve adults with developmental and physical disabilities. State funding for this purpose dried up a year ago, and not just in Illinois. I fill in the gaps with internet content writing, not a bad gig but it pays less than half of the other.


  39. - Learning the Ropes - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 12:24 pm:

    After months of repeated cancellations, my sister was finally able to do her Illinois State Police Testing. She passed, but now they need to actually start an academy and look to hire some officers.

    And my wife is a new teacher in the 186 School District…


  40. - retiree - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 12:26 pm:

    Not currently being eligible for medicaid my state retiree health insurance premium for myself and one dependent could go up to $934/month. That is almost $12,000,year. I can’t afford that, especially for an insurance that isn’t paying my doctors anyway. The doctors are starting to send the bills to me now. If that increase goes through I will either have to cancel the insurance or start looking for a new job. What are the chances of finding one with 10% unemployment?


  41. - Jeff Park Mom - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:18 pm:

    Where do I start?

    Because of the budget cuts and general lack of state dollars for education my daughter’s Chicago Public School is losing the art teacher, the Kindergarten aide, and the librarian. Other support staff will have to go as well. And of course, it’s not easy to learn with 36 other classmates.

    My husband is at NEIU to become a certified high school math teacher. Tuition’s not cheap because of the erosion in state support for higher ed over the last few years. He will be certified come January, but he’s starting to hear there may be no schools hiring, even in his field where the need for certified teachers is great. We’ve spent down our savings on his education and he may not be able to get a job.

    My son’s excellent preschool is losing a quality preschool grant from the state, which is forcing them to cut the teachers’ already low salaries, increase tuition and lay off one teacher. One of his most talented teachers asked me for a letter of reference - she’s looking for something with more pay, which may mean a great teacher leaves the profession.

    We are trying to find an all-day Kindergarten for my son next year, but CPS can’t guarantee they will have the money to pay for the small number of all-day Kindergartens they have now.

    I have friends who staged a sit-in in Mayor Daley’s office last year and stopped the closure of four Chicago mental health centers. Now the city says with the 40% cut in their state mental health grant they may close all the mental health centers come July. You’re gonna notice that when you walk around downtown.

    I commute downtown via train and bus every day and it’s more crowded and dirtier than ever.

    I have a social worker friend who is a direct provider of Early Intervention services. The state payment delays kill her.

    I’ve written and called my legislators. My family and friends need HB 174.


  42. - not applicable - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:23 pm:

    My wife is a 1st Year KG teacher and she has been told that she will be one of the one’s laid off because of budget issues.

    Hoping for a better day…


  43. - fed up - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    Montrose and Dupage as Rich says Bite Me. It was an observation that alot of people are relying on the goverment for their income. A good friends father in instructing us to go to school and not take the police exam called it the Irish welfare you can never get ahead on goverment salary and now it appears the security of that goverment paycheck isnt a given.


  44. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    No issues for family, but a friends daughter is having difficulty getting a full time teaching job.


  45. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:42 pm:

    I’ve taken 12 furlough days and last summer my special needs daughter had her summer day camp closed after three weeks due to the budget and this impacted over 100 kids.


  46. - lefty - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:53 pm:

    Springfield Sceptic - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:32 am: wrote

    “Have taken 5 furlough days. Cost me about $4k.”
    One week of furlough days cost nearly $4,000? Must be a great job that pays nearly $208,000 a year.


  47. - dupage progressive - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 6:16 pm:

    Unfortunately, yes. Brother was laid off from a big IL pharma company. He has 3 kids & mortgage. Ouch. Good friend has been out of work for 2 years. She’s working at local food pantry part-time for min. wage & her condo is now going into foreclosure. I’d say it’s hitting close to home…


  48. - Cheryl44 - Sunday, May 2, 10 @ 3:56 pm:

    No raise in two years, now there’s talk of furlough days and layoffs. I am putting three people on hiatus for 5 weeks this summer–not actually laying them off, but they won’t be on the schedule. Also a friend, social worker, on a reduced work week and a teacher friend looking for work in a new school–she thinks new construction will make it less likely to close.


  49. - red - Tuesday, May 4, 10 @ 7:32 pm:

    well they taken part of mine and others raises
    trying to overide fair nogotiation to raise copayment, retire’s contribution, and that’s just the beginning, they r already making retirees pay more for dental care and this is just the beginnig ……….


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