Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Governor Quinn Proclaims April Save Abandoned Babies Month

Twitter at: ilsafehaven

55 E. Erie St., #2905, Chicago, IL 60611-2255

Phone: 312-440-0229 Vol. 1 Ed. 2 Spring 2013

Awareness Even More Important We Face the Unspeakable Tragedies of February

The news articles read more like a scene from a horror film than news: Remains found in the trunk of a car. Infant found in a toilet.

And these were not just any remains. These were innocent babies discarded as if they were waste.

The remains of two dead infants were found in the trunk of an impounded car in late February. After nearly a year of sitting in an impound lot, the car of a 32-year-old Illinois woman was examined by police. The woman had only recently admitted to dumping another baby girl alongside a road to freeze to death in 2004. Wrapped in plastic bags and discarded as trash, this horrific tragedy is not the only one looming over a heartbreaking February.

Late February also brought with it the drowning murder of a full-term infant. A 16-year-old woman is believed to have given birth to the infant found dead in the toilet of a Roseland neighborhood home.

But did these women know there was another option? We have to wonder if they would have relinquished these babies to a Safe Haven had they known they could do so legally and without any questions asked. Would four lives have been saved? Instead these precious full-term infants were left to shiver in the cold or take first and last breaths gasping on toilet water-ultimately -losing their lives just as they had barely began and their mothers live with shame and guilt, possibly behind bars.

It’s unthinkable and unimaginable, and most importantly it may be PREVENTABLE.

The Safe Haven Law in Illinois says that a baby may be relinquished to staff at a hospital, firehouse, police station, or a campus-police station. That means that deaths like these do not need to occur. Now more than ever, we remember the importance of raising awareness about Safe Haven Laws.

April, Save Abandoned Babies Month

The proclamation from Governor Pat Quinn brings high expectations to April for making a difference. This is a time to build momentum, initiate goals, and raise awareness. We need your help to reach our goals:

Reach 10,000 “Likes” on Facebook.

Raise $20,000 to increase awareness about of Safe Haven Law using the appropriate media in communities at risk of illegally abandoning a newborn.

Reach out to teachers to ensure that the Safe Haven Law is being integrated into junior high public school health courses curriculum as mandated by law.

No more illegally abandoned babies.

Join us at noon on April 24th, 2013 at the Thompson Center, to show support for the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation and the many other organizations whose mission it is to prevent child abuse in Illinois.

Annual scholarship contest for high school students has started!

A) The Foundation will award four $500 book scholarships to any Illinois senior high school student who can best promote awareness through the use of any social media site. For example, whoever receives the most tweets on Twitter, the most views on YouTube, and/or the most "likes" on Facebook would be deemed a winner. All content, regardless of the social network, must emphasize the importance of the Safe Haven law, promote awareness and increase viewership.

Time to help. Whether you have days, hours, or even just seconds, YOU can make a difference.

If you only have two seconds "like" us on Facebook.

If you only have five seconds, share a link to our page on Facebook.

If you have thirty seconds, tell someone about the safe haven laws.

If you have ten minutes, call a politician and ask for support of any current safe haven legislation.

If you have an hour, come to a meeting to learn more about the Foundation and ways you can help.

...and if you have even more time to devote to saving babies in 2013... Think about hosting a fundraiser or an awareness event. Contact us and we'll help.
B) Students must submit the required information electronically to Students must include the following in their submission:

1. A web link to his/her site and a short description of how he/she has increased awareness of the Safe Haven law.

2. Contact information:

a. First and last name

b. Name of high school

c. Name of high school guidance counselor

d. Name college they will be attending

e. A PDF copy of the college acceptance letter.

*Incomplete information will not be considered eligible for the contest.

C) The contest runs from March 18th through April 20th. The Board will review the links submitted in the emails and announce the award the scholarships by April 30, 2013.

Our mailing address is:

Save Abandoned Babies Foundation

55 E Erie St

Unit 2905

Chicago, IL 60611

Friday, March 15, 2013

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford Unveils List of Items for Upcoming Unclaimed Property Auction

St. Patrick’s Day themed auction features gold coins and emeralds

SPRINGFIELD – Mar. 6, 2012 – Gold coins, emerald jewelry, and a four leaf clover paperweight are just some of the items that Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is offering in the next Illinois Treasurer’s Online Unclaimed Property Auction. It starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, Mar. 18 and will begin closing at 10 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 22. If you are interested in seeing the items up for bid, go to the treasurer’s office’s website at and click on the auction preview button.

“We are auctioning off 12,444 pieces of unclaimed property in the Illinois Treasurer’s Online Unclaimed Property Auction because the rightful owners have not come forward to claim the items in more than five years,” said Rutherford. “We have a variety of interesting items to sell in this auction. This auction features a gold ring with diamonds and rubies, a lot of five 50 peso gold coins, gold earrings with emeralds, and other rare collectible items. There’s something that appeals to everyone.” All items for sale in this auction have been appraised by an outside vendor. The sale price of each lot must reach at least 75 percent of the appraised value.

Buyers are responsible for purchasing their auction winnings with either Visa or MasterCard (other arrangements will be available for purchases over $10,000). In addition, a 2 percent administrative fee will be assessed. Buyers are also required to pay for shipping through the preferred list of shippers.

Rutherford has chosen to conduct this unclaimed property auction online because it’s more cost effective than having a live, in-person auction. “Using this process cuts auction costs significantly,” said Rutherford. Under the previously-used eBay auction system, it cost the treasurer’s office approximately $29,000 to sell a similarly

appraised amount of unclaimed property. Under Rutherford's online system, the cost of an auction totals between $900 and $2,200 because the treasurer’s office uses the iBid program to sell items with a total appraised value exceeding $100,000 per auction.

Rutherford has chosen to conduct this unclaimed property auction online because it’s more cost effective than having a live, in-person auction. “Using this process cuts auction costs significantly,” said Rutherford. Under the previously-used eBay auction system, it cost the treasurer’s office approximately $29,000 to sell a similarly

appraised amount of unclaimed property. Under Rutherford's online system, the cost of an auction totals between $900 and $2,200 because the treasurer’s office uses the iBid program to sell items with a total appraised value exceeding $100,000 per auction.

“The savings from using iBid versus eBay is about $27,000 per auction, which I’m holding three times each year,” said Rutherford. In addition, Rutherford says using this online auction requires less time and attention from salaried employees, plus no physical space, hardware or security expenses.

If you would like to participate in the upcoming 2013 Illinois Treasurer’s Online Unclaimed Property Auction, please visit and follow the link to the auction. One must register to become an active bidder. For questions about registration, please contact 217-785-6998.

iBid (, the state’s online surplus property auction system, was created in 2003 by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services’ State Surplus Property Division. Property and equipment no longer needed by state of Illinois and registered local governments is placed on iBid for sale to the highest bidder. Each week, surplus equipment such as vehicles, office furniture, outdoor equipment, tools, machine shop equipment, electronics, and much more is offered weekly to more than 13,500 registered bidders. iBid’s low sales fees enable state and local governments to obtain a higher return on taxpayer funded equipment. Since inception, iBid has sold more than $6 million in surplus property. To learn more about iBid and buying state and federal surplus property, please visit


Thursday, March 14, 2013

HB 3411, the Cross, Nekritz Pension Bill Voted Out of Pension Cmte

Bi-partisan bill saves $160 billion and pension system for government workers

(Springfield) Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) passed their comprehensive pension reform legislation out of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee today. House Bill 3411, now headed to the House floor, promises to save taxpayers $160 billion and Illinois’ public pension system from complete collapse.

“Today we are one step closer to solving a pension crisis that continues to squeeze our state budget,” said Cross. “We believe this legislation offers both state workers and taxpayers alike the most comprehensive and reasonable pension solution available. I look forward to bringing this legislation the House floor for further debate.”

"We are encouraged by the support that we continue to build for a real solution to this critical problem," Nekritz said. "Leader Cross and I will continue to work to show why this bill is the sensible combination of benefit reform and payment protections to get our pension system and state back on track."

House Bill 3411 includes many components of bills filed previously, but also includes some new ideas including:

• Allows cost of living adjustments (COLA) to the first $25,000 of the employees’ pension

o These new COLAs will take effect when the employee turns 67 or five years after they retire, whichever comes first.

• Increases retirement age from one to five years, depending on current age

• Increases employee contributions by 2 percent over two years

• Caps pensionable salary

• Changes Tier 2 COLA benefits in GARS to match COLA provisions in other systems

• Creates Tier 3 defined benefit/defined contribution plan for SURS and TRS members who start work after January 1, 2014. Local Employers and employees will be responsible for funding these plans.

• Includes a funding guarantee, systems can take state to court over nonpayment

• Includes $1 billion in additional funding for systems starting in 2020 until systems are 100% funded

“Addressing our pension crisis is paramount to stabilizing our budget and ensuring we can provide the vital state services that are suffering. This legislation will allow us to do that, while also addressing the concerns of interest groups and bond houses alike,” Cross added.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Voices 4 Illinois Children Responds to Gov Quinn' FY 2014 Budget

Note: Gov Quinn's Budget Director, Jerry Stermer, was for years the Executive Director of Voices For Illinois Children

Voices for Illinois Children's Reponse to Gov Quinn's FY 2014 Budget, March 6, 2013

Governor Quinn’s newly released budget proposal demonstrates that Illinois’ fiscal crisis is far from over and that children, families, and communities continue to pay the price for a history of unwise fiscal decisions made by our elected officials. Nearly every area of the budget that impacts children has been subject to deep cuts over the past few years.

Of particular concern, the Governor has proposed cutting $309 million from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) budget, including $150 million from General State Aid. Such a massive cut would further devastate school districts that are already under severe fiscal stress. If enacted, this cut would mean that ISBE funding would be $1.1 billion below the FY 2009 level — further undermining our children’s future and taking our state in the wrong direction.

The Governor’s budget also includes flat funding for the Early Childhood Block Grant, rather than the $40 million increase proposed by ISBE. As a result of deep budget cuts over the past four years, more than 20,000 fewer children have access to state-funded preschool this year than in FY 2009.

All Illinois residents — including the youngest among us — are being harmed by the rapid increases in state pension costs, which will consume about one-fourth of state revenue in the coming fiscal year. Addressing the pension funding crisis is an urgent matter. At the same time, even without pension changes, there is still room for better choices about spending priorities. Governor Quinn and the General Assembly should make choices that address the urgent issues facing children and families.

Beyond this coming fiscal year, the state faces fiscal disaster if current income tax rates are cut as scheduled on January 1, 2015. If income tax rates are rolled back, state revenues in FY 2015 will plunge by more than $2 billion, and the revenue loss in FY 2016 will be $4.7 billion. Meanwhile, pension costs are set to increase both years. The result would be draconian cuts to nearly all other areas of the budget, including funding for K-12 education, preschool, mental health services, and child care — or a dramatic increase in the backlog of unpaid bills.

Our elected officials must finally enact a credible plan to address the pension funding crisis and not allow current income tax rates to expire at the end of next year. Without doing both, our state will not be able to dig out of its deep budget hole, give all kids the opportunities they deserve, and create a brighter future for all Illinoisans.

IL Federation of Teachers' President Responds to Gov Quinn's Budget

In response to Governor Pat Quinn’s budget address, Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery issued the following statement:

"It is unfair for Governor Quinn to present this false choice between pensions or pencils. Springfield lawmakers created the massive pension debt by skipping payments and borrowing more. To call that debt an education expense is not only a gimmick, but an insult to teachers everywhere. We are not to blame, and our students shouldn't suffer.

Today, the Governor had a chance to lead, to endorse legislation that is fair and constitutional. That bill, HB 3162, would break the gridlock and help the state save billions of dollars. Instead, we heard the same tired rhetoric that has gotten us nowhere.
We didn’t create the pension funding problem, but we are willing to help solve it. Our bill includes our willingness to share in the sacrifice and contribute even more.

All of these other proposals attempt to balance the state’s budget on the backs of teachers and public employees. Polling shows a majority of taxpayers do not support this approach and neither should their representatives. Benefit costs are a mere fraction of our fiscal crisis, and so slashing our life savings is both unjust and pointless.

Yes, other revenue proposals will be needed, but lawmakers would be faced with the same tough choices when unconstitutional legislation is thrown out by the courts."

TEXT of Gov Quinn's FY 2014 Budget, in which He Tells Legislators, "We Must Stop the [fiscal] Bleeding"

Governor Pat Quinn’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Address, delivered March 6, 2013

Text of Budget Address

President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan, Leaders Radogno and Cross, Lieutenant Governor Simon, Attorney General Madigan, Secretary White, Comptroller Topinka, Treasurer Rutherford, members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests and fellow citizens of Illinois, good afternoon.

Before I begin, I want to salute one of Illinois’ greatest citizens…ever.

Yesterday, we lost a great public servant, Dawn Clark Netsch. Dawn was a champion for equal rights for all people.

As the first woman elected to a state constitutional office in Illinois, Comptroller Netsch blazed a trail for women in public office.

I witnessed firsthand her dedication to honest government when we served together as State Treasurer and Comptroller in the 1990’s. Dawn was a straight shooter. She always told the people of Illinois what they needed to know. Throughout her life, Dawn Clark Netsch taught us about the right way to move forward in our democracy.

We are all grateful for her purposeful life.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here today to submit our budget for Fiscal Year 2014.

This is the most difficult budget I have ever submitted to you.

But this is also an honest budget that reflects our fiscal challenges…pays down the backlog of bills…and addresses funds that have been under-appropriated for too long. There are no gimmicks or fake numbers in this budget.

This budget holds the line on discretionary spending, while fully meeting our skyrocketing pension obligations.

Inaction on comprehensive pension reform has left our state with less revenue for our most important priorities.

Without pension reform, within two years, Illinois will be spending more on public pensions than on education.

As I said to you a year ago, our state cannot continue on this path.

Pension reform is hard. But we’ve done hard things before.

Since I took the oath of office four years ago, we’ve taken many hard steps and enacted many difficult reforms to restore fiscal stability to Illinois.

Reduced spending

Despite the worst recession since the Great Depression and a greater demand for services than ever before, we’ve reduced spending to historic lows.

Our discretionary spending in this budget is about $16 billion. We’re spending less today on the operations we control than we did six years ago.

Since taking office, I have reduced discretionary spending more than any governor in recent memory.

We’ve closed and consolidated 54 expensive state facilities to save taxpayers more than $100 million a year.

And closing those facilities has not only saved money, it was also good policy.

When I took office, Illinois had 1,330 young people in juvenile detention centers. Today we have 857.

Our community-based rehabilitation strategies are working. They are reducing our juvenile population and helping more young offenders choose a better path.

When I took office, Illinois institutionalized more people with disabilities and mental health challenges than any state in the Union.

Since then, we’ve closed several institutions.

We’ve invested more in community care, which provides a better quality of life and more independence for people with disabilities.


Last year, I asked you to work with my administration to restructure our Medicaid program, which was on the brink of collapse.

We got that done, significantly reducing liability for taxpayers. We are moving toward coordinated managed care and lower healthcare costs. And we need to stay the course.

Made efficiencies

In fact, every year since I’ve taken office, we’ve taken steps to make our government more efficient and smarter.

That includes not only Medicaid restructuring and fewer state facilities, but also reduced office space.

We’ve consolidated and eliminated lease space, saving more than $50 million a year and reducing lease space by more than 2 million square feet.

Under Budgeting for Results, which we passed together in 2010, we carefully review each state agency every year. We ask – what can we do better? What are we doing well? How can we do more with less?

And this week, I’m issuing an Executive Order to officially eliminate or consolidate 75 boards and commissions to increase efficiency.

These boards were either dormant, entirely redundant, or their work had been completed.

New tentative employee contract

And last week, we reached an important contract agreement with our public employees union, AFSCME, which represents 35,000 state employees.

After 15 hard months at the bargaining table, we reached a landmark three-year agreement that will save Illinois taxpayers more than $900 million in healthcare costs over the life of the contract.

That is unprecedented.

None of the last four gubernatorial administrations were able to achieve this kind of savings for our taxpayers.

Unlike prior administrations, we did not give in. We kept working… and working… and it worked.

This contract is good for our dedicated public employees. And it’s good for all the taxpayers of Illinois.

More hard work to do

Budget reductions, facility closures, Medicaid restructuring, and the proposed collective bargaining agreement have all required hard work.

But each has brought us closer to restoring fiscal stability to Illinois.

And we have more hard work to do.

Pension reform

It won’t surprise you that the hard work starts with public pension reform.

On April 14, 2010, I signed into law Senate Bill 1946, which significantly reformed our public pension system for new employees.

This law is creating billions in long-term savings for Illinois taxpayers.

National conservative columnist George Will called that law an “earthquake,” a “seismic event.”

But that major reform seems like ancient history today. Because as you know, our mission now is to reform our public pensions system for all employees, current and former.

Today, our budget is being squeezed more than ever. And that will continue until we put a stop to it.

The most important thing we can do to repair Illinois’ finances right now is to reform our public pension systems.

Last week, in my office, I met with all four legislative leaders: President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan, Leader Radogno, and Leader Cross. And our first item of discussion was pension reform.

Thank you, leaders, for expressing your desire to do something about this crisis.

I’ve worked with many of you on pension reform over the past year. There have been many good ideas…many proposals…many bills.

Yet there has been no vote on a comprehensive pension reform bill.

I’m ready to sign that bill.

Now, there are fundamental elements that should be part of pension reform.

First, there must be a firm guarantee that the State of Illinois will pay its full pension amount every year. I’ve done that since I’ve been governor.

But that did not happen under previous governors and legislatures. They shorted the pension fund and shirked their responsibility. That’s why we have a pension crisis today.

As you know, to make up for that failure, we’ve had to issue two pension obligation notes under my administration. The debt service on these notes will expire in 2020.

Once those notes expire, all of that revenue – nearly $1 billion annually – should be dedicated to the unfunded pension liability.

In addition, employees should adjust their own contributions to their pensions.

A few weeks ago, I attended the summit called by representatives of public employees. I listened to them.

I was pleased that they volunteered to raise their employee contribution to help resolve the pension crisis. This offer should be part of the solution.

And the State of Illinois as employer should also consider additional solutions to break the gridlock.

For example, any enhancement that we enact to gaming revenues this year should be dedicated to education, which could include teachers’ pensions.

Of course, gaming expansion has to be done right. It must have tough ethical standards, a campaign contribution ban on casino operators, and no loopholes for mobsters.

Finally, we cannot turn to our taxpayers to repair the pension problem.

There should be adjustments to pension benefits to fundamentally resolve this crisis.

These adjustments should include reforms to the pension cost of living adjustment. The COLA is currently 3% compounded annually. That’s unsustainable for taxpayers.

For those with higher pensions, the cost of living adjustment should be suspended until the entire pension system achieves better balance.

The basic pension amount that has already been accrued by our current and former employees should not be touched.

But the pension reform solution should include cost of living adjustments going forward.

We all know that we must reform the Illinois public pension system.

So, members of the General Assembly, what are you waiting for?

I know this issue requires a hard vote. But you know that every day you wait to vote on this matter – the problem gets worse.

It is costing taxpayers an additional $17 million a day. Illinois taxpayers are losing patience with your lack of action.

If I could issue an Executive Order to resolve the pension crisis, I would. And I would have done it a long time ago.

But democracy requires action by the executive branch and the legislative branch. It’s time for you to legislate.

So take the vote. Send me a comprehensive pension reform bill. Together, let’s move Illinois forward.

Pay the bills

By the way, the hard work ahead isn’t just pension reform. It’s paying down the backlog of bills caused by decades of fiscal mismanagement.

Over the past four years, we’ve been able to reduce the amount we owe. By the end of the next fiscal year, we will have reduced the backlog of bills by nearly $2 billion.

But there’s much more work to do.

That’s why today I propose a plan to further pay down the state’s backlog of bills.

Over the next 12 weeks, we should work together to enact legislation that suspends unnecessary corporate tax loopholes and dedicates the resulting revenue to a new Bill Payment Trust Fund.

For example, we should suspend the Foreign Dividend corporate loophole. We should also join other states that have decoupled from the Federal Production Activities loophole. And we should suspend the Non-Combination Rule that allows big corporations to shift their income to locations outside Illinois. Together, these three loopholes alone cost our treasury about $445 million per year.

Suspending corporate loopholes like these until the bills are paid will be good for our vendors and good for our economy.

The more corporate loopholes we suspend, the faster we can pay down our bills. Why should we give costly, ineffective loopholes to some of the biggest and most profitable corporations on earth, when we have bills to pay?

As elected officials, we should also do our part to pay down the bills.

That’s why I’ve reduced my office budget every year since I took office. This year I’m reducing it by another 5% -- and I’m dedicating these savings to pay down the bills.

And I ask our other constitutional officers and the General Assembly to do the same with your office budgets: 5% savings to pay down the bills.

Grow the economy

Of course, the best way to a better budget is to grow our economy.

In the last three years, Illinois has added 167,000 private sector jobs. And Illinois ranks 5th in the nation for recent manufacturing job creation.

Our Illinois Jobs Now! program has paved the way for economic growth. Over the last three years, through this public works initiative, we have built or repaired 6,754 miles of roads and 1,082 bridges. We’ve laid 3,029 miles of broadband fiber.

And we’re building, repairing, or expanding 561 schools – putting thousands of people to work.

To date, we’re investing $294 million in Clean Water projects from Chicago to Murphysboro, which will put hundreds of men and women to work improving our water systems.

And we’re ready to do more. Several weeks ago, I signed a bill that you sent me – an additional $700 million investment this year in our roads and bridges all across Illinois.

The letting process will begin this month on this highway initiative, just in time for the spring construction season.

In addition to our roads and bridges, we’ll put our Jump Start initiative back in motion to invest a half billion dollars for public transit in northeastern Illinois.

Public works investments like this will continue to drive our economy forward.

More and more businesses are choosing Illinois to grow and invest.

Site Selection Magazine just completed its national survey, ranking Illinois as the fifth best location in the country for new and expanded corporate facilities.

To promote more economic progress, we also need to move full-speed ahead on implementing the Affordable Care Act.

By doing so, we will create thousands of good health care jobs, even as we extend health coverage to more working people in Illinois.

Thank you, members of the Senate, for voting last week to make sure Illinois reaps the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

Also, hydraulic fracturing – commonly called fracking – is coming to Illinois, with the strongest environmental regulations in the nation.

This legislation has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Downstate Illinois.

It will also ensure that our natural resources are protected for future generations.

Let’s move forward on this jobs bill this year.

Budget priorities

We’ve worked to balance our budget, and we’re working to grow our economy. But in the meantime, we have the reality of this year’s budget.

In the last four years, we have reduced discretionary spending to historic lows. We’ve made our government leaner and more efficient. But with each year’s budget, we’ve also absorbed reductions that were very difficult.

Skyrocketing pension obligations leave our state with no choice but to continue reductions to our core priorities.

There are significant reductions in this budget that I do not want to make. And that none of you will want to make either.

These reductions are the direct result of the General Assembly’s lack of action on public pension reform.

Our pension obligations have squeezed out funding for core services. And every day that passes without pension reform, the problem gets worse.

That reality is very clear in the budget I submit today.

But what’s also clear are the areas that we’ve been able to preserve funding, despite the significant pressure of pension costs.

Especially in difficult budgets, we must have priorities.

Early childhood education

That’s why I have preserved investment in early childhood education. A child is only four years old once.

Research shows that the achievement gap begins before a child steps foot in kindergarten.

We cannot leave our youngest behind because of a lack of political courage on hard issues…not if we’re going to ensure that every child has a chance.

High-quality early childhood education provides one of the highest returns of any public investment – more than $7 for every dollar spent.

These are tough times… but early childhood education for the youngest among us must be a top priority.

MAP scholarships for college students

I have also preserved investment in MAP scholarships for Illinois college students who are in financial need. Access to higher education is fundamental to a student’s earning potential and career path.

The average college graduate makes 75 percent more than the average high school graduate.

And the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that most of the 30 fastest-growing jobs in the nation will require education beyond high school.

Scholarships for needy college students are an investment that Illinois can’t afford to cut.


Another area that we can’t afford to cut is services for our veterans. It is the duty of all of us on the home front to take good care of those who have borne the battle.

My budget includes increased funding for our Veterans’ Homes. This will meet the staffing requirements of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act that the General Assembly recently enacted.

And it will ensure that we meet the care needs of more than 900 veterans in our Homes who served our nation when we needed them most.

Our budget also preserves funding for our veteran service offices and our healthcare – including mental health care – for our veterans.

Mental health care

In fact, mental health care for all who need it is a top priority. So our budget includes an additional $25 million investment to improve mental health in Illinois.


Finally, the prevention of violence is an urgent priority we all share.

Despite difficult reductions elsewhere, this budget supports a comprehensive approach to taking on violence.

Our anti-violence strategy includes early childhood education, after-school programs, intervention initiatives, mentorship, mental health care, jobs, and support for our law enforcement.

Our State Police are part of our battle against violence. That’s why our budget supports three new cadet classes for the Illinois State Police.

Our budget also expands ReDeploy, our successful program to reduce crime by repeat offenders.

Through targeted investments in programs like this, we are doing our part to tackle the violence epidemic in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois.

Now, these are the bright spots…the few priorities we’ve been able to protect despite hard fiscal reality.

But there are too many priorities that have been cut to the bone due to inaction on pension reform.

This is the most difficult budget Illinois has ever faced.

And it is only a preview of the pain that is to come if this General Assembly does not act decisively on comprehensive pension reform.

I have laid out principles that should guide the reform effort.

And I will continue to work with your leadership and members of this legislature to make pension reform the law of the land.

I stand ready to sign comprehensive pension reform immediately. Today.

But I cannot sign what I do not have on my desk. The people of Illinois need your immediate action.

This year’s budget is a tough pill to swallow. But it’s only managing the symptoms of a grievous condition that threatens the fiscal health of our state.

If we are to ensure a bright future for the people of Illinois, we must cure this condition. We must enact fundamental pension reform.

And so I ask you…as our greatest president Abraham Lincoln asked in this year’s film: “Shall we stop this bleeding?”

Let’s get the job done. Thank you.