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United Way CEO Says Citizens Must Rescue Social Service Programs

Winnebago County Bar Association

Illinois is approaching a new fiscal year without a state budget. The head of an organization that helps fund social service agencies says citizens need to demand more from their lawmakers. 

Paul Logli is president and CEO of United Way of Rock River Valley. He told the crowd at the Rockford Urban Ministries annual meeting Friday that no matter where they stand politically, they have to be unforgiving of ALL state lawmakers about the budget impasse.

“When we have our forums and they sit in front of the room, and Republicans blame the speaker and Democrats blame the governor, that’s unacceptable. Because if they wanted to, if they had the courage, they could reach across the aisle and they can take control of their parties.”

Logli admits it’s a dangerous position when it comes to future funding and support for individuals who take a stand -- but he says 20 or 30 members from each party could take back the chambers. Logli says another way citizens can take back the statehouse is by supporting a plan to take the power to draw up legislative districts away from political parties.

About 85% of social service agencies in the state have cut programs and the number of clients they serve. Logli says he advises agencies to make temporary cuts to stay afloat instead of borrowing, which could lead to bankruptcy if the state doesn’t pay its bills. 

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.