This letter to the editor from our executive director Angel Ysaguirre appeared in the Illinois Times on February 16, 2017. You can find the original article here.
For almost two years, the Illinois legislature has not agreed on a state budget. I’m sure you’ve heard about the devastation this budget impasse has caused – especially on social services and public universities.
This crisis has also affected Illinois Humanities. About 20 percent of our annual budget comes (and has come for the past 25 years) from the state of Illinois. We use these funds largely to make grants to cultural organizations across the state and for our Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, primarily to organizations in places other than Chicagoland – many of them in small communities where institutional cultural resources are limited. In fact, libraries are the largest users of the Road Scholars programs.
We’ve worked hard to weather this budgetary storm, dipping into our financial reserves and making budgetary cuts that still allow our programming to remain intact. However, such solutions are only temporary. If the state doesn’t pass a budget, I’m afraid we will be forced to cut our Community Grants and Road Scholars programs for the rest of the year.
Although we all understand the awful impact of the budget impasse on the people of Illinois, state legislators tell us that they rarely receive phone calls or emails from their constituents complaining about the budget impasse. For the first time in a while, there seems to be some movement towards passing a budget. We encourage you to voice your support for such bipartisan efforts. There is a window of opportunity to make a difference. Please call your state representatives and the governor’s office and ask them to pass a budget for the second half of the 2016-2017 year.
Angel Ysaguirre, executive director
Illinois Humanities Council