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'Enough is Enough' Message Sent to Lawmakers

A new campaign called 'Enough is Enough' is under way in Illinois to get lawmakers to pass a balanced budget. (aarp.org)
A new campaign called 'Enough is Enough' is under way in Illinois to get lawmakers to pass a balanced budget. (aarp.org)
January 11, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois' budget stalemate is more than two years old now and it's not sitting well with state residents.

Illinois is projected to spend $13 billion more than it will collect in taxes this year, and Ryan Gruenenfelder, the manager of advocacy and outreach for AARP Illinois, says there's also more than $10 billion in unpaid bills from previous fiscal years. He says the impact of the money shortage is felt by college students, working families, older residents and social-service providers.

In response, AARP has launched a campaign to put pressure on state lawmakers to get a budget approved.

"Enough is enough," he said. "Sit down and compromise and find a comprehensive balanced budget that helps make life better for residents of all ages of Illinois and is as equitable as can be for Illinois residents and businesses."

The Tax Foundation says Illinois has the fifth-worst tax structure in the nation, and the second-highest property tax rate in the country.

Gruenenfelder said the cost of living also is on the increase, and it's putting a big burden on people who are on a fixed income.

"Illinoisans, every single day, are facing a future of having to pay for this massive amount of debt," he continued. "It's growing by around $500 million per month. If we don't get a handle on this thing, the future of the state of Illinois is in jeopardy."

Gruenenfelder said spurring lawmakers into action is going to have to come from state residents. He encouraged everyone to call or email their local representative and ask them what their specific plan is to pass a budget, and to tell them, 'Enough is enough.'

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL