SPRINGFIELD -- The Wells Center in Jacksonville, Ill., should be celebrating 50 years of treating residents of Central and Southern Illinois for alcohol and drug addiction. Instead, the Center has voted to close – a victim of Gov. Rauner’s ill-conceived crusade to run the state of Illinois into the ground. The center will leave 35 employees jobless and 500 people a year struggling with addiction with no treatment services.
For two years now, Wells Center has seen its payments from the state delayed and slashed as Illinois starts its third year without a balanced budget.
Make no mistake about it – closing the Wells Center won’t save the state of Illinois a penny. In fact, it will cost the taxpayers much more to treat the Wells Center’s patients in emergency rooms, county jails, state prisons, or other bad situations where they may now wind up instead. The fact is, people will die as a result of this failure to invest in people over pet projects.
Ask yourself: Are Governor Rauner’s pet projects – term limits, union-busting legislation, redistricting -- really worth the devastation the closure of the Wells Center will wreak on Central Illinois? This is a direct result of the lack of a budget as Governor Rauner sabotages attempts in the legislature at a budget compromise in order to hold out for his pet projects.
“Illinois’ fiscal crisis is, in our view, a man-made byproduct of policy ultimatums placed on the state budget process,” Standard & Poor’s bond ratings agency wrote in its most recent review. In other words, this crisis is owned by Governor Rauner.
Governor Rauner needs to fulfill his constitutional obligation to propose a balanced budget that the General Assembly can act on to stop the carnage. The Governor needs to stop campaigning and do his job.
The Comptroller’s office will continue to work with the Wells Center and any potential successor organization to try to facilitate a smooth transition so the clients of the Wells Center can continue receiving services. Our office has advanced all available state payments owed the Wells Center – about $400,000 in the past few weeks.
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