Older Illinoisans, Retirees Urge Legislators To Fix Budget Mess - Cuts to Budget, Higher Health Care Premiums Would Hurt Millions.
With the final days of the legislative session upon us, Illinois citizens of all ages and backgrounds are urging their elected representatives to pass a responsible budget and fix a fiscal mess that threatens to cut critical programs and services without providing the fair revenue the state needs. Today, and for the third week in a row, older Illinoisans and state retirees knocked on legislators' doors at the State Capitol, urging them to balance the budget in a responsible manner.
The Governor's proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget is not enough to fix Illinois' broken budget - which currently features an estimated $13 billion deficit. The budget proposal does not generate the revenue Illinois needs, imposes hard cuts for essential services, and worsens Illinois' debt.
For older Illinoisans the situation is just as critical - the Governor's plan cuts critical prescription drug assistance programs as well as home and community based services, and imposes a tough hike in the health care premiums of state retirees.
AARP and AFSCME members lobbied state legislators with a clear and urgent message: Save Our Seniors and pass a Responsible Budget to protect vital services.
"The Governor's budget proposal will hurt millions of seniors and retirees who rely on the support of state services to stay healthy and in their own homes," said AARP member and River Forest resident Anne Clark. "Legislators are hearing today from older Illinoisans who are urging them to support a responsible budget."
The Governor's proposed budget will:
Cut prescription drug assistance programs by $70 million;
Cut $140 million from the Community Care Program, putting thousands of seniors at risk of having to move to costly and unsafe nursing homes;
Raise health care premium deductions for state and university retirees an additional $217 million annually.
AARP has set up a toll free number for its members and for all Illinois citizens, 1-800-719-3020, so they can call their legislators and urge them to fix the budget mess, support House Bill 174, and pass a responsible budget.
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