AARP Urges State Leaders to Fix Budget Mess, Protect Critical Services

Jan 26, 2010, 13:09 ET from AARP Illinois

Association to also Advocate for Affordable Utility Rates, Consumer Protections

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With Illinois in a state of insolvency, millions of residents are at risk of losing the health care, education, public safety, and long term care they need and receive. AARP Illinois today announced its legislatives priorities for 2010, urging state leaders to avoid a catastrophe by adopting a budget that provides sufficient new revenue to pay for and protect critical programs and services.

"The State will fail its residents if the only solution to the current fiscal crisis is cutting or eliminating the programs that Illinoisans depend on," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois Senior State Director. "We urge the Governor and the Legislature to adopt a fiscally responsible budget, including comprehensive tax reform that produces sufficient revenue to pay for state priorities, generates sufficient savings, fosters economic growth and employment, and restores fiscal stability."

"Illinois has the second worst budget deficit in the nation, behind California. The current situation is unacceptable, and the cost of inaction will be catastrophic for the millions of individuals, families and older adults who rely on state services," Gallo added.

While working with state leaders to fix the state's financial mess will be AARP's top legislative priority in 2010, the Association also announced other important legislative priorities, focused on rebalancing Illinois' long term care system, fighting unwarranted utility rate hikes, and increasing protections for Illinois consumers.

AARP Illinois' legislative and advocacy work will include:

  • Working on additional and necessary measures to expand the achievements of 2009's campaign finance reform, and examining the issue of legislative district reapportionment as the Census 2010 gets underway.
  • Supporting pro-consumer legislation and promoting balance at the Illinois Commerce Commission to protect the interests of citizens in utility rate increase requests.
  • Protecting funding for critical programs that serve older Illinoisans, including home and community-based services.
  • Crafting legislative reforms that address quality of care and safety concerns in the state's private nursing facilities.
  • Continuing to build upon our past successes to reform the health insurance industry in Illinois.
  • Passing legislation that strengthens current regulations against abusive payday lenders.
  • Advocating to repeal an existing law that reduces unemployment insurance benefits for older workers who receive social security. Illinois is one of only three states in the nation that have not taken repeal action on this law.