Governor Quinn holds the dying hostage in IL budget fight
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has declared war - on dying children and adults.
Quinn fired a salvo earlier this week when he threatened to cut the Medicaid hospice benefit if his "temporary" tax increases from 2011 aren't made permanent.
In advance of the permanently temporary personal and corporate income tax increases he imposed on Illinois in 2011, Quinn argued that without the tax increases, social service providers would suffer.
In fact, he would see to it that they did.
Quinn’s less than subtle message to the human services community was that if they wanted to avoid seeing the invoices they submitted to the state for services rendered put into the permanently permanent pay-no-mind bin in the Governor’s office they best fall in line.
After publicly declaring that his word means nothing by codifying that in Illinois, to paraphrase Milton Friedman, nothing is so permanent as a temporary tax increase, Quinn has quickly moved into the enforcement phase.
Quinn communicated to hospice providers, for example, that he will eliminate the hospice benefit provided by Illinois’ Medicaid program if the temporary personal and corporate income taxes are not made permanent.
The hospice benefit in question provides for palliative care for the terminally ill. That care most often occurs in the home as opposed to an institutional setting so as to improve a person’s quality of life before he or she dies.
In effect—and this is not my opinion but rather the opinion of hospice care providers I contacted—Quinn is threatening the end-of-life care for dying children and adults.
Quinn is seizing a political opportunity to bully individuals and their loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable to satisfy his public sector union financiers who want a permanent tax increase (and more still) and thus advance his electoral interests.
Those tax increases have driven thousands of businesses out of the state and burdened families with ruinously high tax bills. The state simply refuses to cut spending and live within its means. Despite raising tax rates in 2011, Illinois will run a deficit this year of at least $3 billion. The long term debt could top $25 billion in a decade unless there are significant fiscal reforms.
A 2012 study conducted by the website 24/7 Wall Street placed Illinois as the 48th worst run state "taking into account debt per capita, budget deficits, unemployment, median household income, and the percentage of the percentage of the population below the poverty line."
It's worse than that. Illinois has the worst credit rating of any state, the worst pension shortfall, and the crookedest politicians.
GOP candidate for governor Bruce Rauner thinks he can cut taxes and spending while balancing the budget. I wish him well if he is elected but he will be battling entrenched Democratic and Republican party interests who wouldn't bat an eye cutting a hospice benefit but would raise bloody hell if one of their pet projects was axed. This is the sad reality of Illinois politics and I fear until the people wake up and demand change, it will be business as usual in Springfield - to the detriment of the citizenry.