Editorial: Shuffling budget, suffering programs

The fact that Illinois still doesn’t have a budget isn’t anything new.

Whether from this very publication, the Chicago Tribune or The New York Times, you’ve more than likely read that the state of Illinois hasn’t had a budget since May.

And in anticipation for the likely cuts that will come with any approved budget, the state has had to cut millions in funding for certain programs all the way from the southern tip of Illinois to the Chicagoland area.

At this point, no program is safe.

The most recent cuts have come to the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a Chicago-based organization that works toward the development of the arts across the state with grant money.

The arts industry in Illinois alone is a $2.57 billion industry that supports more than 75,000 jobs. Cuts will have a major impact on the industry, whether certain programs are or are not affiliated with the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

As budget cuts continue to impact state programs, it’s crucial to take additional measures to ensure certain programs, like the arts, don’t suffer too greatly. Not just for the sake of these programs within the arts, but also for those who participate in these programs: The children, students and professionals who have dedicated much of their lives to perfecting a craft that the rest of us look on with with amazement.

It’s not entirely our place as a group of college students to ask of the community to donate money toward programs. However, we’re the kids who have grown up on these types of organizations — we understand better than most how crucial programs such as the Illinois Arts Council Agency are.

It’s programs such as these that foster and develop the youth into the people who will cure diseases, create works of art unimaginable to current minds and create buildings and cities that will rise among the current skylines of the world’s largest cities.

It’s more important than ever for the residents of Illinois to contribute financially and with their time to ensure that these programs can find success for the youth of the state. Much of the U.S. grew up on an education founded in the arts.

The rise of the sciences and technology is largely a relatively new concept, but it’s literature, music, dance, writing, painting and photography that much of the country was established on. And as these programs continue to be cut within public education curriculums, it’s the opportunities outside of the classroom that remain crucial to many children.

Until the Illinois legislature is able to decide on a budget, the duty to ensure that the arts are protected remains on us, the citizens of Illinois.