State Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago) called Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget a "doomsday situation" that is compounded by a $1.6 billion shortfall from former Gov. Pat Quinn's underfunded FY2015 budget.
In February, Rauner proposed sweeping cuts to the state's Medicaid program, higher education, mass transit and government pensions to address the state's financial woes. The cuts aimed to combat a $6 billion deficit for fiscal year 2016, which begins in July 1, and the state's $111 billion pension crisis. But critics of Rauner's budget plan say those cuts adversely affect the poor and middle class families.
"It's gonna be tough," said Turner, who held a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the impact Rauner's proposed cuts could have on the state. More than 30 residents attended the meeting held at Mt. Sinai Community Institute, 2653 W. Ogden Ave.
While legislation to lift the state's minimum wage has been pending in the legislature for some time now, Chicago Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said he and his fellow Progressive Reform Coalition council members are working to drum up support for a $15 minimum wage in the city.
At a minimum wage forum Thursday night hosted by Action Now’s “Faith in Action” coalition in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood, Sawyer said the council's progressive caucus is looking to put forward a $15 minimum wage ordinance, though the details are still in the works.
The first step, Sawyer said, is to get more aldermen and residents involved in the discussion.
"I think (raising the minimum wage is) a basic level of respect to your constituents that are working out here hard," he told Progress Illinois. "I was at one function where a young lady worked 10 years at McDonald's and she talked about how she can't even afford the food to eat where she works. So it's frustrating, and we need to get these wages to a level where they are respectable to the citizens."