There are several ways to find and contact your elected officials:
1. Go to Congress.org and enter your zip code into the "My Elected Officials" box on the left hand side of the page. This will pull up all your state and federal elected officials and will link you to their contact info. For some officials you can submit your comments via a web form. For others, you will be directed to their individual websites.
2. Go to the Illinois State Board of Elections site and search by your street address. This will give you a list of your elected officials and their phone and fax numbers.
3. Once you have your list of legislators, you can go to The Voice of Illinois Consumers site to access each person's e-mail address.
What message should you communicate to your elected officials?
You can copy and paste the sample letter below or write your own message:
I am a voter in your district and I urge you to fight the proposed state cuts to human services which are scheduled to begin on July 1, 2009. These cuts will impact so many people that are greatly in need – battered women, adults and children with developmental disabilities and mental illness; victims of rape; at-risk youth. Slashing these programs will not save the state money and will ultimately cost all of us more in the long run. Thousands of people will lose their jobs thereby straining the state’s budget even more as income tax revenue is lost. More savings can be realized through the reform of the state’s pension system which is sorely overdue.
I realize that even a pension system reform and other state cuts cannot fully balance the budget. I ask that you vote for a tax increase ONLY if all human service programs are fully funded. We can do the right thing as a state for our most vulnerable citizens even if it means a little more expense for all of us.
Please VOTE YES for a tax increase.
The combined budget deficit for this year and next is at least $11.6 billion. While federal money and cuts will help, the state still faces a deficit of $7 billion. Without a tax increase, our state will be in even worse shape.
Social service agencies received notice last week that their budgets are being slashed.
In a letter dated June 12, 2009 from the Illinois Department of Human Services, human services providers were told the following:
"Due to the General Assembly’s failure to approve the revenue plan proposed by Governor Quinn, the State of Illinois, Department of Human Services, Division of Community
Health and Prevention will no longer be able to afford the following programs:
Grant Programs (funding terminates June 30, 2009):
Community Youth Services
Unified Delinquency Intervention Services
Communities For Youth
Release Upon Request
Teen REACH (Grants will be issued to GEARUP Providers)
Additionally, for the following Services, State General Revenue Funding (GRF) will
be reduced by up to 75%.
Substance Abuse Prevention
Healthy Families Illinois
All Our Kids Early Childhood Networks
Childhood Asthma Prevention
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
Coordinated School Health Education
Comprehensive Community Based Youth Services
Parents Too Soon
Parents Care and Share
Domestic Violence Prevention
School Health Centers
This means that developmentally disabled adults, battered women, at-risk youth, home bound elders among other vulnerable populations will lose many, and in some cases, all of their services. The effects on the citizens of Illinois will be devastating.
People who need these services will not go away. Their needs will just be addressed in more expensive ways. If these cuts stand, upwards of 100,000 jobs will be lost putting an even greater strain on the state budget. Federal dollars will be lost that are leveraged by state funding. The cuts will prove more costly in the long run than raising taxes.
No one wants a tax increase. We need one, though, to ensure that Illinois remains a strong state.
Do the right thing – tell your legislator to vote for a tax increase.