Celebrate Learned African Americans
Speaking frankly, ethnic culture is shaped by celebrating the heroes, the great men of the community, who serve as example and inspiration to young people. At present the African American community celebrates sportsmen and entertainers, not learned men, famous authors or scientists. Jewish people celebrate Einstein. Learning is not valued in the African American community. Students are not motivated to learn. Peer pressure is not enough. As the failure of 50 years of integration has shown, if that remains the aspiration of African Americans, then the rest of the community will not expect from them anything else than to jump high.
Therefore, let us celebrate learned African Americans.
— John Tuzson
Even with the recent increase in Illinois’ income tax, the state faces a huge budget deficit. Budget cuts are therefore anticipated. The somewhat good news is that committees in the General Assembly are discussing expenditures for the fiscal year beginning July 1 in light of projected revenues.
The very bad news is Governor Quinn’s proposed budget, cutting services for people with developmental disabilities. The priorities are wrong. His budget would cut community services by $76.3 million while adding $30 million of new funding to state institutions.
The governor’s proposals would increase wages of state employees (who staff state institutions) by 8.25% while cutting the pay of workers in the community by 6%. Most of the latter have not received pay increases in the last three years, and more will face layoffs.
In this budget, expenditures for supporting an individual with a developmental disability in the community will average $13,500, while the annual cost for a person in a state institution will rise to $192,000. The average cost of a community group home is $50,000.
Why should anyone who does not have a family member or friend with a developmental disability care? As taxpayers we expect elected officials to use public funds wisely and fairly. Last fall a non-partisan group outside the disability community – The Chicago Community Trust – issued A Quest for Equality: Breaking the Barriers for People with Disabilities, A Call to Action for Illinois’ Leaders. Recommendations included “expand(ing) supports for people living in community settings … and reduc[ing] dependence on institutions.” For too many Illinois citizens with developmental disabilities, institutionalization is a barrier to fuller lives. I know that someone with a significant disability can live a full life with support in the community; my son is doing just that.
I urge others to call our representatives now to oppose the proposed cuts to community disability services. Governor Quinn: 217-782-6830. State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg: 847-492-1200 and Representative Robyn Gabel: 847-424-9898.
— Bonnie Dohogne
This week’s Installment Property Tax
Deferred for post-election tax whacks
Democrats lame-duck rules
Have made us April fools
Of raise tax in downturn bureaucrats
— Robert Bagby