In spite of an avalanche of protests, letters, marches, negative newspaper editorials, junk bond status and a constant pounding on the doors of legislators by multiple constituents, the General Assembly ended the regularly scheduled session without either a spending plan or a revenue plan.
As happened last year, however, there is talk of a stopgap bill which would release a little bit of money for social service agencies and higher education, and potentially pay for K-12 funding. This is not a solution. It won’t keep school districts from floundering, universities from laying off staff or human service agencies from closing programs.
Legislators cannot be allowed to hide behind a stop-gap bill that provides only minimal amounts of what is owed and keeps schools from closing as some sort of solution. This only kicks the can down the road, taking the pressure off a true budget solution and allowing the state to crumble in the meantime. It is shameful that we are on the cusp of beginning the third year without a budget.
The House returns later in June for “continual session.” We must make clear to our legislators that we need a permanent, sustainable fix to this budget crisis so that human service programs can finally prepare, plan and do the work we all want to do. Our well being depends upon this, for the immediate stability of our community and a future that will keep our community strong for the next generations.
Laura Furlong, Bloomington
The writer is CEO of Marcfirst.