Last week, we pointed out that Google had taken note of our budget fallout tracking project on their Twitter feed, highlighting it as an interesting use of their Maps technology. Today came something a bit more significant: The Associated Press cited our tally of laid-off ...
Last week, we pointed out that Google had taken note of our budget fallout tracking project on their Twitter feed, highlighting it as an interesting use of their Maps technology. Today came something a bit more significant: The Associated Press cited our tally of laid-off social services workers and affected clients in an article on the state budget impasse:
Progress Illinois, a website supported by the Service Employees International Union, is trying to track cutbacks at the organizations that state government uses to deliver services at the local level. As of Friday, it reported, 68 agencies had cut at least 1,420 jobs and halted services for nearly 13,500 people.
Thanks again to all the readers and agency staffers who have continued to send information to email@example.com. Since Friday, we've added five affected providers to the list and have a bunch more that we're working to verify.
On a related note, AFSCME members are holding 38 separate rallies today at the offices of state lawmakers across the state. From a press release:
The events are part of a massive, coordinated effort to raise public awareness of the dangerous potential cuts to state services and jobs—and scores of community-based human-services programs—that loom as a result of the budget crisis, and to urge every state representative to return to Springfield and support House Bill 174, comprehensive tax reform that raises revenue, cuts property taxes and preserves vital services and public safety functions.
As you may remember, on the last days of the spring session, HB 174 passed the Senate as well as the House Education Committee, but never came up for a full vote on the House floor. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights will be joining AFSCME at seven of these events. From an ICIRR release:
Community residents, advocates, and leaders will demand that both Democratic and Republican legislators put aside politics and support a tax increase that will keep these critical programs functioning. Some organizations are already taking drastic measures in response to state budget cuts. “Many of our member organizations have laid off employees and curtailed or shut down intake of new cases,” said Joshua Hoyt, ICIRR Executive Director. “While politicians play politics in the state capitol, jobs are being lost, organizations are closing their doors, and hundreds of thousands of people who need essential services are not getting them.”
Participants will urge state legislators to vote for HB 174, which includes a tax increase that will avoid deep cuts to vital social services, solve the structural deficit within the state’s budget, and position the state for long-term stability.
Protests are also scheduled at the statehouse tomorrow as lawmakers return for special session.