Advocates continue push for budget fairness
The push for lawmakers to preserve essential state programs continued today with strong messages from education, labor and mental health officials.
The Capitol news conferences echoed Wednesday's rally at the State Capitol, where nearly 15,000 people spoke out against proposed cuts to state services.
Mental health advocates spoke first, including members of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois. CEO Frank Anselmo said that Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed budget cuts would eliminate mental health services for 72,000 people.
"This is budget madness," he said.
The group dropped off petitions with more than 10,000 signatures at Quinn's office and the offices of the four legislative leaders.
Labor officials and school superintendents also urged Quinn to reconsider major cuts to local school districts.
Brent Clark, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, said $1.3 billion in proposed education cuts would "dismantle our schools."
"We need (lawmakers) to do something other than go home May 7," he said.
Student leaders from public and private universities statewide asked lawmakers to find ways to restore money to the Monetary Award, or MAP college grant program. A jar of pennies representing the nearly 8,000 students at Roosevelt University was delivered to Quinn's office following the event.