— By Lisa Bertagnoli At her book club and among her church friends, Mary Patton senses anger over the way elected officials are handling the state’s budget crisis. About $130 billion in unfunded public pension obligations looms, and the state’s budget has a $1.2 billion deficit. Patton, 82, a former teacher and Peoria County circuit clerk, is a longtime AARP Illinois advocacy volunteer. “We have worked on many of these issues for more than 20 years,” she said. “We fight the …

—   On October 2, 2018, join AARP Chicago for a Town Hall meeting throughout Chicagoland to share your story on how the fiscal crisis is impacting your community. For too long the state of Illinois has suffered through a lengthy fiscal crisis that continues to impact all of its citizens. When will state finances be restored, service providers paid, vulnerable residents in need of caregiving services receive proper attention, and the state’s debt burden be resolved? Join us in the Loop, Bronzeville, …

— By Kelly Ganski Out on a Meals on Wheels delivery last year in O’Fallon, Theresa Collins knocked on the door of a 74-year-old veteran, a double amputee in a wheelchair. The man used to receive five hot-meal deliveries a week, but because of state budget delays, the nonprofit Senior Services Plus could make only two deliveries a week. To compensate, they included three frozen meals. “He told me to just leave them out on the counter because he couldn’t physically …

— With only hours left in the 2018 regular legislative session, Illinois legislators passed a balanced budget to the Governor for the first time in years. AARP Illinois issued the following statement today applauding the Illinois General Assembly for responsibly working together in a bi-partisan collaborative manner to pass a balanced budget. “Under the Illinois Constitution, the General Assembly has one job – to pass a balanced state budget, and today they listened to those saying “Enough is Enough” and did …

— Springfield, Ill. – More than 95 Springfield area residents applauded Thursday evening as AARP Illinois and NPR Illinois launched a statewide tour of forums aimed at finding lasting solutions to a years-long state fiscal crisis that, despite some encouraging signs, is still hurting citizens, businesses and the state’s future. The Springfield forum was the first of 11 planned 2018 forums in the “Enough Is Enough” initiative, first unveiled last year by AARP Illinois and NPR Illinois. The events, scheduled from …

— By Kelly Ganski At 59, Rosanna Márquez of Chicago has the same concerns as other 50-plus voters. As the AARP Illinois president, Márquez is in a unique position to hear from older residents about issues important to them. Turns out they’re the same issues she’s passionate about: taxation of retirement income, home- and community-based services and, mainly, the Illinois fiscal crisis. “I’ve heard a lot of seniors say, ‘We’re so concerned, and we’re so frustrated, and we’re fairly scared about …

—   SPRINGFIELD– The facts are staggering. Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills remains over $8.5 billion. Late interest payments owed exceeds $1 billion. Unfunded public pension obligations have reached $130 billion.  Illinois’ credit rating is 50th in the nation and near junk bond status. Yet, Governor Rauner’s proposed budget does not include a long term fiscal plan that would launch the journey toward making Illinois’ fiscal situation stable.  The proposed 2019 fiscal plan does not do nearly enough to protect Illinois …

— Through a recently launched campaign called Enough is Enough, AARP Illinois is encouraging state residents to demand that their elected officials come up with a plan to balance the state budget. For two years, the state has operated with a stopgap budget, leading to a 2017 deficit estimated to run between $5.6 billion and $7.2 billion. In addition, the state faces $13.2 billion in unpaid bills from previous years. The legislative impasse over the budget has stymied services, adversely affecting …

—   On Tuesday, July 20th, AARP Illinois along with WCBU: Peoria Public Radio and NPR Illinois will host an Illinois Issues Forum entitled State Budget: Past Due on the state budget impasse in Peoria, Illinois. The forum will be held at Peoria City Hall, located at 419 Fulton Street from 6pm-7:30pm with doors opening at 5:30pm. RSVP: https://aarp.cvent.com/pastduepeoria or call, toll-free, 1-877-926-8300 State Budget: Past Due Peoria event is the 4th of an 11 part series allowing Illinois residents who …

— The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Rauner will now have to now work through June on a budget solution — with no certainty that they will pass by the end of the fiscal year, June 30. The Speaker, Governor and members of the Illinois General Assembly continue, after two years and three legislative sessions, to put partisan politics and their upcoming re-election chances ahead of the well-being of Illinois and people who live here. AARP Illinois is urging everyone to …