Letters to the Editor

Wrong place for Rauner to cut

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts would eliminate substance treatment for 7,871 Illinois residents, dealing a blow to employment opportunities. Rauner is aiming to slice $27.6 million out of the $127 million budget of the Illinois Department of Human Service’s Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse for alcohol and drug treatment, a 22 percent cut.

A cut of that magnitude would eliminate addiction health care treatment for 7,871 individuals out of the 47,000 currently receiving care this year, or a 17 percent overall decrease. Since 2009, addiction health care has been cut 24 percent.

Gateway Foundation, which has local treatment centers in both Swansea and Caseyville, estimates its budget would be cut by $2,051,000. Such a budget cut would eliminate addiction health care treatment for 710 individuals receiving care out of the 6,000 receiving care this year, or a 12 percent overall decrease.

According to 2014 data from the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, the employment rate for unemployed individuals grows dramatically after successfully completing a treatment program.

Since 2009, the state has slashed $39.7 million from treatment, denying care to 8,941 individuals to solve annual, chronic budget problems. Such wrongheaded decisions make it infinitely more difficult for people to get back to work.

Michael Feaman

Program director, Gateway Foundation

Swansea

  Comments