“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King delivered this logical, astute statement on October 22, 1964 within his speech on “The Future of Integration” at Oberlin College. As we take time this January to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, remember the hope he inspired in millions and reflect on the potent effect his profound words have instilled in many generations, Americans and Illinoisans are also seeking meaning, reason and sense within the political atmosphere frustrating so many from all realms. I certainly am, and in my mind, this statement resonates as much today as ever.
I’m deeply worried, daily, about Illinois’ fiscal crisis, and this month, I’m reflecting on this wisdom from Dr. King within that context. The time is right to ensure our frailest elders receive dignified care they have earned through many decades they worked supporting the well-being and security of Illinois and our nation. The time is right to ensure Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens can live in a safe and secure environment. The time is right to ensure Illinois’ schoolchildren receive a great education no matter where they live in Illinois. The time is right to ensure our public universities are top notch and affordable, our roads, bridges, buildings, sidewalks and all other infrastructure are safe/maintained, and our businesses have the tools and workforce needed to strengthen and improve our economy.
Illinois’ fiscal crisis negatively impacts all of this and much, much more. The backlog of unpaid bills remains over $8.5 billion. Late interest owed is approaching $1 billion. Unfunded public pension obligations have reached $130 billion. Illinois’ credit rating is 50th in the nation and near junk status. Property taxes are the highest in the nation.
Enough is Enough! While the Illinois General Assembly passed a budget for fiscal year 2018, a tremendous amount of work must be done to fix these and the remainder of the long list of problems caused by the crisis. Throughout 2018, AARP Illinois will continuously keep Illinoisans’ informed regarding what is happening in the capital and encouraging all to continue to put pressure on state elected officials. We encourage you to use this website to share your story, your concerns, offer solutions, learn of latest actions and be active in making a difference.
You can make a major difference reminding politicians over and over again that “the time is always right to do what is right.”
AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy & Outreach