Social Services: Don't Cut Our Funds - NBC Chicago

Social Services: Don't Cut Our Funds

Protestors descend upon Thompson Center



    The protests were peaceful, but the message was loud and clear as a crowd of roughly 1,000 people, mostly social service workers, descended upon the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Thursday, demanding that the budgets to their agencies not face the axe.

    Most of the agencies represented provide daycare for children, though some also provide support for people stricken by poverty and addiction.

    "They can find money for the Olympics, you want to tell me they can't find the money for our kids?" said protestor Morena Spells.

    Gov. Quinn has said that as many as 100,000 social service workers could lose their jobs if their state-funded programs get cut.  That would be disastrous for the state if those cuts become reality, advocates say.

    "If they don't pass this budget in the proper way, in the proper time, we could possibly close down," said Mila Solarez, a spokeswoman for St. Vincent Depaul Center, which provides day care for more than 400 children.

    Slashing the social services budget isn't something Quinn wants to do, given the current economic state, but he's said he may have little choice.  He's asked the General Assembly to raise income taxes to help close the state's $9.2 billion shortfall, but Republicans say they want more action on long-term changes in state spending before they'll consider raising taxes.

    The protests forced officials to shut down the Thompson Center to the public and led police to close off nearby Randolph Street.

    "We need to find the revenue to take care of the families of Illinois.  Do your jobs, politicians.  Do your jobs," one protestor said.