Vigil held in response to proposed spending cuts


Champaign-Urbana residents hold a prayer vigil to protest Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts to child care, home health care and Medicaid outside the Unemployment Office in Champaign on Tuesday, June 30.

By Ben Lash

On Tuesday evening, a vigil was held outside the Champaign Department of Human Services building. The vigil was organized by Champaign residents in response to the proposed cuts by Gov. Bruce Rauner due to the state’s falling budget.

“There are going to be a lot of parents in need of day care because providers won’t be able to provide them with services without the child care resources,” said Champaign resident Mindy Haile, who assisted with the organization of the vigil. “Parents won’t have the funds to be able to pay for full-price day care. We’re probably going to see a lot of parents end up here at the unemployment offices or on welfare because they’ll need to provide for their family.”

The Champaign vigil was one gathering among several throughout the state. In locations including Peoria, Springfield, and East St. Louis, similar vigils were held in order to spread awareness and communicate concerns regarding Rauner’s propositions.

“We don’t believe cuts are the way,” said Eric Martinez, one of the lead organizers of the vigil. “We’re trying to mobilize as many people as we can to ask Governor Rauner and State Representatives Adam Brown and Chad Hays to do the right thing and stand with working parents and people, and not make these cuts.”

At the vigil, several citizens came forward to speak about the struggles they expect to face in the near future. According to information provided at the vigil, it is expected that many low-income children will end up without caring adult supervision in much of their day-to-day life with the absence of affordable day-care services.

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    “I have my own place, my own car, I have finances and bills I have to pay,” said Champaign resident and mother Lisa Johnson. “If child care were to be cut, that would be a huge problem for me. I have a one-year-old child. If child care were to be cut, there would be no way for me to pay for her to go to school or continue to work and pay my bills.”

    Rauner’s proposals also would likely lead to the removal of home-health care providers. Home healthcare employee Andrew Sage expressed his disapproval of the possible elimination of home healthcare to Illinois citizens.

    “In my opinion, home health care is very important,” Sage said at the vigil. “These people do not live long in nursing homes. They deserve to live in their own homes where they get proper one-on-one care. In my opinion, the home health care workers care more about their clients than the CNAs do in nursing homes.”

    Concern has been appearing recently across the state, as many citizens fear how the proposed cuts for child-care, home healthcare, and Medicaid will affect their own lives and the lives of low-income workers and parents.

    “It really puts folks in a bind to lose the CCAP program.“ said Martinez, “Some people have to figure out ‘Do I go to work or stay home and watch my kids?’…I definitely wanted to be here. We want our voices to be heard.” 

    A previous version of the article incorrectly identified Rep. Adam Brown as Rep. Pat Brown. Rep. Chad Hays’ last name was also misspelled as Haze. The Daily Illini regrets the error.