WBEZ | budget http://www.wbez.org/tags/budget Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en State budget deadline comes — and goes — with no deal http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-01/state-budget-deadline-comes-%E2%80%94-and-goes-%E2%80%94-no-deal-112297 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/JanetandPhil_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212813116&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 22px;">Wednesday is the deadline for the state to pass a budget and stave off a government shutdown that would affect services and state workers&rsquo; paychecks. Governor Rauner says a shutdown may be necessary to get reforms to set the state on a better fiscal path. Democratic leaders think the cuts are extreme and that it&rsquo;s more important to ensure services. We have the latest from the Capitol and how both sides of the aisle and waging the budget battle.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">Tony Arnold</a> is WBEZ&#39;s statehouse reporter</p></p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-01/state-budget-deadline-comes-%E2%80%94-and-goes-%E2%80%94-no-deal-112297 Democratic lawmaker 'mad as hell' over Rauner's veto of state budget http://www.wbez.org/news/democratic-lawmaker-mad-hell-over-rauners-veto-state-budget-112258 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/LIGHTFORD.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner&rsquo;s rejection of a spending plan gives Illinois lawmakers less than a week to find an agreement and avoid the starting point of a government shutdown. But a Thursday rally on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side shed some light into just how far apart things remain between Rauner and Democratic legislators.</p><p>The rally came after several reports of increasing tensions between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrats. In that time, a lot of the voice and tone of Rauner&rsquo;s opposition has come from Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has a reputation for his low-key, matter-of-fact way of speaking.</p><p>For months now, Madigan has been saying he&rsquo;s working with Rauner even as the two sides have been inching toward the very dramatic possibility of a government shutdown. And the tone of the Democratic opposition got a serious injection of adrenaline Thursday when a group of African-American lawmakers organized a rally on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Those at the rally were from community groups addressing state funding of autism programs, energy assistance for the poor, and mental health services. Some of those groups receive state money and stand to lose some of it.</p><p>Near the end of the event, Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester), who is in Senate leadership, stepped outside to talk to reporters.</p><p>And that&rsquo;s when the news broke that Rauner had vetoed almost all of the spending plan for state government for the next year. It was in this moment when the rhetoric started to match the stakes of those tensions that have been talked about so much in recent months.</p><p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just bring your whole campaign agenda in year one and pit it against the budget and say, &lsquo;Either you give me what I want or not.&rsquo; The campaign is over. People are hurting. It&rsquo;s time to govern,&rdquo; Lightford said.</p><p>Lightford says the governor hasn&rsquo;t been willing to negotiate with legislators. Rauner&rsquo;s administration denies that characterization of the debate, and Republicans have said it&rsquo;s Democrats who aren&rsquo;t willing to accept that voters elected a Republican as governor.</p><p>After she finished talking with reporters, Lightford still had something else to do: Break the news to those attending the rally in the other room.</p><p>When Lightford entered, tears streaming down her face, the crowd moved in tighter.</p><p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t confuse my tears as signs of weakness,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m mad as hell and I want to fight.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s when Lightford got more personal in her comments, referring to Rauner&rsquo;s personal wealth as the crowd looked for somewhere to direct its anger.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t give a damn how much money he has. He can sit up in his mansion and not be affected but all of us will feel the pinch. It might not be in your house but it&rsquo;s gonna be in your neighbor&rsquo;s house,&rdquo; she told the crowd.</p><p>As those in the crowd asked her for a plan of action, Lightford said she&rsquo;d have to talk to her fellow Democrats.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna have to march on this governor like nothing before,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And I think we need the elders in this room to show us how to do it. You did it in the &lsquo;50s, you did it in the &lsquo;60s, we need you to do it in 2015. We need help today.</p><p>For his part, Rauner <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-rauner-budget-veto-perspec-20150625-story.html">wrote an editorial</a> published in the Chicago Tribune Thursday, saying he vetoed the budget because the budget wasn&rsquo;t balanced. He said he still wants to change workers compensation benefits and approve term limits before a spending plan is approved. In that editorial, he also addressed the underfunded pension issues facing Chicago public school teachers and Cook County workers.</p><p>The response to Rauner&rsquo;s veto from Speaker Madigan did not reflect the anger felt on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. Instead, Madigan&rsquo;s spokesman issued a written statement to reporters that says the wheels are in motion for hearing from government officials about how they&rsquo;re preparing for a shut down.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 07:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/democratic-lawmaker-mad-hell-over-rauners-veto-state-budget-112258 Afternoon Shift: Looking back at Governor Rauner’s first 100 days in office http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-04-21/afternoon-shift-looking-back-governor-rauner%E2%80%99s-first-100-days <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Flickr%20182nd%20Airlift%20Wing.jpg" style="height: 388px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/182nd Airlift Wing)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928189&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">&quot;Right to work&quot; and balancing the budget define Governor Rauner&#39;s first 100 days in office</span></font></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">April 21 marks the 100th day since Governor Bruce Rauner took office in Illinois. It&rsquo;s a milestone traditionally used to take stock of how things have gone so far. Two issues that have dominated these first few months are the state of Illinois&rsquo;s finances and the governor&rsquo;s fight to challenge unions. Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31; Greg Baise, president and CEO at the Illinois Manufacturers&rsquo; Association; and Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation join us to discuss the early goings of the Rauner administration.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537">Guest:</span></strong></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537"><a href="https://twitter.com/alindall">Anders Lindall</a></span> is spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.</em></li><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537">Greg Baise is president and CEO at the </span><a href="http://www.ima-net.org/">Illinois Manufacturers&rsquo; Association</a>.</em></li><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddec-97ec-17e6-17cfa7db8537"><a href="http://www.civicfed.org/civic-federation/staff/laurence-msall">Laurence Msall</a></span> is president of the Civic Federation.</em></li></ul></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201927861&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago sports teams showing strong potential</span></font></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">In the NBA Playoffs, the Bulls are up two games against the Milwaukee Bucks. The &#39;Hawks are up two games to one against Nashville. And both the White Sox and the Cubs have called up exciting prospects from the minors. Joining us to talk Chicago sports is WBEZ&#39;s Cheryl Raye-Stout.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddee-fd1e-a114-e5adaf2aa6b2">Guest:&nbsp;</span></strong><a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout?lang=en"><em>Cheryl Raye-Stout</em></a><em> is WBEZ&rsquo;s sports contributor.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928010&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Shortage of homes in housing inventory makes for a seller&#39;s market</span></font></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf0-be74-0b79-0e8d58d1be89">According to a </span><em>Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business</em> report, there are fewer single family homes on the market in Chicago since the beginning of the housing market crash over eight years ago. So why is the housing inventory so short and what does it mean for potential buyers? Dennis Rodkin of <em>Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business</em> joins us with answers.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf0-be74-0b79-0e8d58d1be89">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/Dennis_Rodkin?lang=en">Dennis Rodkin</a> is a Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business reporter.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928362&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Court proceedings continue against Bolingbrook man accused of trying to join ISIS</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf0-be74-0b79-0e8d58d1be89">A&nbsp;</span>19-year-old man accused of trying to join the so-called Islamic State was back in court on Tuesday. The charges against Hamzah Khan of Bolingbrook include attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group. WBEZ&rsquo;s Lynette Kalsnes was at the federal courthouse and joins us with details.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf2-465b-fa10-a9d4fe35e3d8">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">Lynette Kalsnes</a> is a WBEZ reporter.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201927443&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Tech Shift: Tracking venture capital investment in Chicago</span></font></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">The amount of venture capital investment in Chicago startups is on the rise. Or maybe not. Depending on how you crunch the data, the first quarter of this year was either lackluster or spectacular. Regardless of how the numbers break down, hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital are flowing to companies in our city every year. So, where&rsquo;s all that money going? And what effect is it having? Jason Heltzer is a Chicago-based VC who&rsquo;s a partner at Origin Ventures. He also teaches at the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Booth School of Business. He joins us with a venture capitalist&rsquo;s perspective on the local VC economy.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf4-727e-13e9-6cb5d7394038">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/jheltzer">Jason Heltzer</a> is a partner at Origin Ventures and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201876190&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">After detective&#39;s aquittal in fatal shooting, prosecutors face criticism</span></font></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Chicago police detective Dante Servin has been cleared of all charges after fatally shooting 22-year old Rekia Boyd. Servin says justice was served, but others say the detective deserved to go to prison. They&rsquo;re slamming both the acquittal and the way the case was prosecuted. WBEZ West Side bureau reporter Chip Mitchell has more.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf6-ec5d-ae8b-10f07f1725ab">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1?lang=en">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928514&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago Department of Health urges parents to vaccinate</span></font></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">In honor of National Infant Immunization week, the Chicago Department of Public Health is encouraging parents to vaccinate their babies. While recently we&rsquo;ve seen the emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccination rates haven&rsquo;t dipped, and some are at an all-time high. The Dept. of Public Health&rsquo;s Julie Morita joins us with details.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddf8-c8ca-dda9-642cca4fe34c">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdph/auto_generated/cdph_leadership.html">Julie Morita</a> is Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928710&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Scandal continues for the College of DuPage</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfa-04de-a981-fb33a1108b00">In the latest of a series of scandals for the College of DuPage, the </span><em>Chicago Tribune</em> reports that trustees and administrators have been paying for alcohol at the school&rsquo;s upscale restaurant with money that&rsquo;s supposed to be used for student scholarships. Student Body President, Stephanie Torres, joins us to talk about how this is affecting the morale of COD students.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfa-04de-a981-fb33a1108b00">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.cod.edu/news-events/news/15_march/15_torres_iccb.aspx">Stephanie Torres</a> is student body president at the College of DuPage.</em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201928208&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><font color="#333333"><span style="font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">State Senator weighs in on reports of Puerto Rican citizens receiving addiction treatment in Chicago</span></font></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p dir="ltr" style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfa-04de-a981-fb33a1108b00">I</span><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfb-6ac2-fcaa-426670b157b5">n collaboration with our colleagues at </span><em>This American Life</em>, we aired a special report last week about Puerto Rican citizens receiving addiction treatment in Chicago. The story was brought to light by reporter, Adriana Cardona Maguigad, editor of <em>The Gate</em> newspaper newspaper in Chicago&rsquo;s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Illinois State Senator William Delgado&rsquo;s district includes areas where some of these facilities are located. He joins us to talk about what&rsquo;s going on and what he thinks should be done.</p><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-799d777f-ddfb-6ac2-fcaa-426670b157b5">Guest: </span></strong><em><a href="http://www.senatordelgado.com/biography">William Delgado</a> is an Illinois state senator who represents neighborhoods including Belmont Cragin, Logan Square and Hermosa.</em></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-04-21/afternoon-shift-looking-back-governor-rauner%E2%80%99s-first-100-days Emergency room visits for mental health skyrocket in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/emergency-room-visits-mental-health-skyrocket-chicago-111890 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ambulance_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s no secret that both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois have major budget problems. Both governments have made cuts to services in recent years. But there is evidence that shrinking mental health services could actually cost money.</p><p>Heather Linehan is a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department. She is tall, with strong arms and gray hair. She has the kind of presence that is gentle, but also seems to say, you probably shouldn&rsquo;t mess with me.</p><p>Linehan said she has developed that demeanor from working over 30 years in emergency medical services. She said that kind of work gives her a particular view of the city. When you deal with emergencies you see what is not working. You are with people in their worst moments, the times when all the other safety nets have failed.<br /><br />&ldquo;On the street we say, you know what rolls down hill and who it lands on,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Linehan said when policy decisions get made, she sees a difference in who shows up in her ambulance. Years ago, she noticed when state hospitals started to close and not enough community-based services filled the gap. More recently she noticed when the state cut funding and later when the city closed half of its mental health clinics.</p><p>If Gov. Bruce Rauner&rsquo;s proposed budget passes she will be bracing herself again.<br /><br />Linehan is not alone. People who work on mental health say the cuts to Medicaid and mental health services would mean more people with mental illness visiting emergency rooms.</p><p>It is a trend that is already underway. Data WBEZ obtained from the state show startling increases in Chicago. From 2009 to 2013, 37 percent more patients were discharged from emergency rooms for psychiatric treatment. The biggest jump came in 2012, the same year the city closed half of its mental health clinics.</p><p>The city did not agree to an interview for this story. But in a statement it said the mental health infrastructure in Chicago is stronger than it was four years ago.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Inside an Emergency Department</span></p><p>The emergency room spike has already forced some emergency departments to make big, costly changes, just so they can keep these patients safe, including literally rebuilding parts of their hospitals.</p><p>Sheri Richardt is the manager of Crisis and Behavioral Health at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where construction is underway on a new behavioral health unit.</p><p>Richardt said when a psychiatric patients come in to the emergency department they need special examination rooms. She pointed out how the pipes under the sink and toilet are covered.</p><p>&ldquo;There is nothing on the walls you could hang yourself with or hurt yourself with,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />As visits climbed the hospital needed more spaces like this. The new rooms will be designed for safety, but also to give the patients a more quiet and private space, away from the hustle of the rest of the emergency department.</p><p>Richardt said she witnessed one reason why psychiatric ER visits rose by 37 percent.&nbsp;She said hospitals often recommend Medicaid patients that follow up with a therapist or maybe psychiatrist after they are discharged from the emergency room.<br /><br />But &nbsp;Richardt&nbsp;said some patients live in areas where there just are not enough places to get care. She said these patients could wait as long as nine months for an appointment, &ldquo;and if you come to the emergency room because you are in crisis and then you can not get follow up care for nine months you are probably going to go back to the emergency room for care.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The $2.5 million patient</span></p><p>Richardt&nbsp;saw the same patients rotate in again and again. So she pulled one patient&rsquo;s files and found that woman had visited the Illinois Masonic Emergency Room 750 times over the course of about 10 years.</p><p>Richardt&nbsp;said the patient was picked up by an ambulance or police officer almost daily. Sometimes the emergency department would discharge her, only to have her appear back a few hours later.</p><p>&ldquo;The cost of that for us was two and a half million dollars. Medicaid dollars,&rdquo; said Richardt. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s only at our hospital. This an individual who went between multiple hospitals and so we don&rsquo;t have the true cost.&rdquo;</p><p>Like many patients, she had different, interconnected problems. She had mental health needs, drank too much, fell down a lot. She didn&rsquo;t have stable housing and started having seizures.</p><p>&ldquo;And it wasn&rsquo;t only about the money; this is an individual we believed was going to...die on the street,&rdquo; said Richardt.</p><p>Richardt and her team decided to take full responsibility for this patient. They coordinated all aspects of her care, helped her get an apartment and worked with nurses and a chaplain. It worked. She&rsquo;s only visited the emergency room a handful of times in the last year.</p><p>About a year ago they launched a team with social workers, chaplains and nurses to provide the same type of care to more patients. They work with the hardest cases, including people with mental illness who often visit the emergency room frequently.</p><p>The hospital said their visits have begun to plateau.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Shifting Cost</span></p><p>The kind of wrap-around care performed at Illinois Masonic relies on a range of services. Those services are threatened under Rauner&rsquo;s proposed budget, which cuts millions from community services and housing.</p><p>We contacted his office and asked to speak to anyone from the administration about his budget. In a statement his office said cuts are needed because of reckless spending from the past. They refused to do an interview.</p><p>So we called other state Republican leaders and were referred to Rep. David Leitch. Leitch is a conservative who hates government bureaucracy and believes in fiscal responsibility. And that&rsquo;s exactly why he says he opposes these mental health cuts.</p><p>The cuts mean &ldquo;the emergency rooms pick up more and the jails pick up more. Any cuts the state makes, simply means somebody else has to pick up the cost,&rdquo; said Leitch.</p><p>But don&rsquo;t take Leitch&rsquo;s word that cuts one place may show up as costs somewhere else. Take it from someone who lives it.</p><p>Kathy Powers went to the city&rsquo;s Northtown Rogers Park Clinic for bipolar disorder. Even before the city closed her clinic, she was having trouble getting an appointment with a psychiatrist there, or anywhere else.</p><p>&ldquo;So I went to the emergency room, because I was a girl with a purpose,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Workers at the emergency room said they had a reference for a psychiatrist at Northtown Rogers Park Clinic &mdash; the exact place she had not been able to get care.</p><p>&ldquo;And I said, I just came from Northtown Rogers Park clinic&hellip; don&rsquo;t recommend it anymore, they don&rsquo;t have any psychiatrists,&rdquo; said Powers.<br /><br />Eventually the emergency doctors renewed her prescription for lithium. Medicaid picked up the tab. It really gets to Powers how much that simple prescription costs taxpayers. She said we could be giving her much better care for less money.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emergency-room-visits-mental-health-skyrocket-chicago-111890 How organizations brace for Illinois budget cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/how-organizations-brace-illinois-budget-cuts-111793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/raunerpresser_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Bruce Rauner has said Illinois has a spending problem.</p><p>&ldquo;We have been living beyond our means, spending money that Illinois taxpayers could not afford,&rdquo; he said in his address to lawmakers introducing his proposed spending spending plan for next year.</p><p>Rauner&rsquo;s introduced the idea of big cuts almost across the board.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a very strong &ndash; and a very public &ndash; starting point in negotiations.</p><p>And that&rsquo;s created some panic.</p><p>If you stop and look around Chicago, you can see the influence of money from Springfield in almost every corner of the city.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him </em><a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-organizations-brace-illinois-budget-cuts-111793 Rauner signs into law compromise plan to fix budget hole http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-signs-law-compromise-plan-fix-budget-hole-111779 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/raunerpresser.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a compromise plan to plug a $1.6 billion hole in this year&#39;s budget and avert shutdowns of state programs and services.</p><p>Rauner signed the legislation Thursday evening, hours after the Democratic-led Senate approved it 32-26, with all 20 Republicans voting for it. Two days earlier, the House also approved the bills with full GOP support.</p><p>Following weeks of negotiation, Rauner reached the deal with Democratic legislative leaders, even though the majority of Democrats in both chambers voted against the compromise.</p><p>The plan authorizes him to transfer $1.3 billion from other purposes, including parks and conservation. The rest comes from a 2.25 percent across-the-board budget cut. It also gives Rauner authority over $97 million to distribute to needy schools.</p></p> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-signs-law-compromise-plan-fix-budget-hole-111779 Quinn predicts radical budget cuts without revenue http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-predicts-radical-budget-cuts-without-revenue-109918 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/quinn_budget.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn wants to make the state&#39;s temporary income tax increase permanent to prevent &quot;extreme and &quot;radical&quot; budget cuts.</p><p>The Chicago Democrat also said during his annual budget speech Wednesday he wants to give homeowners a $500 annual property tax refund.</p><p>The speech comes as the state faces dire financial problems and Quinn embarks on what&#39;s anticipated to be a difficult re-election bid against Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.</p><p>Quinn proposed maintaining the state&#39;s income tax increase, saying that it&#39;ll be a &quot;real challenge.&quot; The increase rolls back next year, leaving a $1.6 billion revenue dip.</p><p>Quinn says extending the increase is a better long-term solution.</p><p>Illinois has billions in unpaid bills, a low credit rating and uncertainty with its pension debt.</p></p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 12:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-predicts-radical-budget-cuts-without-revenue-109918 Cook County Commissioners unanimously approve 2014 budget http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-commissioners-unanimously-approve-2014-budget-109117 <p><p>As Republican Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri put it, the 2014 budget is one the board and county residents can be proud of.</p><p>&ldquo;No taxes, no fees, no layoffs, no problem,&rdquo; Silvestri said, during the final vote on the budget Friday.</p><p>All 17 Cook County commissioners voted to approve the $3.2 billion dollar spending plan for the next fiscal year. The budget came out balanced in the end, even though the county originally faced a $152 million dollar shortfall.</p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said filling that hole is mostly thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The county is set to receive millions of dollars in federal reimbursements for expanding the county&rsquo;s Medicaid system, known as CountyCare. Dr. Ramanathan Raju, head of the Cook County Health and Hospitals system, said it has already surpassed their goal of 115,000 applications for the program. As of the budget vote, Raju said the county had initiated around 122,000 applications.</p><p>Democratic Commissioner Larry Suffredin said the assistance through the Affordable Care Act will help the county focus their attention elsewhere.</p><p>&ldquo;As we look at the sea change here from healthcare to public safety, we have a number of issues we need to work on,&rdquo; Suffredin said. &ldquo;We have, unfortunately, the largest single-site jail in the United States. We need to reduce the number of people who are in there.&rdquo;</p><p>Now that the 2014 budget is set, both Preckwinkle and Suffredin say the board&rsquo;s next task is to tackle the county&rsquo;s pension fund.</p><p>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</p></p> Sat, 09 Nov 2013 08:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-commissioners-unanimously-approve-2014-budget-109117 Chicago's school board deals with budget, accountability and charges that it violated the Open Meetings Act http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-school-board-deals-budget-accountability-and-charges-it-violated-open-meetings-act <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3523_board of ed-scr_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&#39;s Board of Education passed a $5.6 million budget Wednesday and also approved a new way to rate the district&#39;s schools. Outside, protesters called for board members&#39; ouster. WBEZ education reporter Linda Lutton discusses those issues and charges that the district turned people away from the meeting in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.</p></p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 18:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-school-board-deals-budget-accountability-and-charges-it-violated-open-meetings-act Parents blast schools budget http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-blast-schools-budget-108267 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMAG1712.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public School officials got an earful Thursday night at two simultaneous public hearings on this year&rsquo;s difficult schools budget.<br />&nbsp;<br />A top school official at the North Side hearing said at the start of the meeting he didn&rsquo;t just want to hear complaints about cuts. He wanted solutions for closing the district&rsquo;s $643 million gap between revenue and expenses.<br /><br />&ldquo;Tell us the things you think we&rsquo;re spending money on, that you think we ought to cut,&rdquo; said Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just say, &lsquo;Give us more.&rsquo;&nbsp; Tell us what you think we should cut.&rdquo;</p><p>Speakers were happy to comply.<br /><br />&ldquo;Ask the 20 charter schools that are opening after 50 public schools have closed&mdash;ask them to do more with less,&rdquo; said Dan Phelan, who worked as a teacher in the writing center at Schurz High School until he was laid off last month.</p><p>More than 3,100 school staff have been let go from the district this summer, due partially to school closings but mostly to budget cuts. The district slashed school budgets in its move to a new per-pupil budgeting system and in its struggle to pay a pension bill that triples this year, to $613 million.</p><p>The district has said cuts to schools are $68 million net, but the group Raise Your Hand suggests schools might have lost $162 million.&nbsp;</p><p>Many speakers, including state representative Greg Harris, called on the city to use surplus TIF funds for schools.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not the parents&rsquo; job and it&rsquo;s not the teachers&rsquo; job to find the revenue for these schools&hellip;.That&rsquo;s your job,&rdquo; CPS teacher and parent Carolyn Brown told Cawley.</p><p>Rod Estvan of Access Living spoke in favor of a property tax hike. &ldquo;The city&rsquo;s property tax rate is lower than any other town in Cook County,&rdquo; said Estvan. &ldquo;The [school] board needs to take some risks with the mayor and tell him the truth.&rdquo;</p><p>Cawley exchanged barbs with the crowd of about 100 all night.</p><p>Going over budget priorities, he mentioned the district&rsquo;s &ldquo;safe passage&rdquo; program, then told the crowd, &ldquo;You probably don&rsquo;t have to worry about safe passage up in these neighborhoods&mdash;you do on the South and West sides.&rdquo;</p><p>The incredulous audience responded with jeers. &ldquo;You are so out of touch!&rdquo; shouted James Morgan, a parent from Trumbull, one of the district&rsquo;s 50 closing schools.</p><p>&ldquo;The crime out here? You&rsquo;re full of it!&rdquo; said a mom who claimed her husband and son had been shot near the Uptown location of the hearing. &ldquo;How dare you? You don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s going on in these communities.&rdquo;</p><p>A number of subsequent speakers addressed Cawley&nbsp; as &ldquo;Mr. Winnetka&rdquo; because he has continued to live in the elite North Shore suburb thanks to a residency waiver the school board gave him two years ago.</p><p>The speakers demanded the district do more to press the mayor for additional revenue for schools. But Cawley, speaking directly to the state lawmaker in the audience during his presentation, emphasized what has become the district&#39;s key talking point--and what it sees as the most likely answer to budget woes--pension reform.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s our one big prayer for the future,&rdquo; Cawley said.<br /><br />The school board votes on the $5.58 billion budget on August 28. A final public hearing will be held tonight.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Aaron Atchison contributed reporting.</em></p></p> Fri, 02 Aug 2013 02:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-blast-schools-budget-108267