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Group Plays Lottery to Fund Illinois Services, Wins Only $4

Participants plan to donate winnings to the Illinois Comptroller to fund state services families and communities need after they hear the results of Wednesday’s Powerball drawing

Chicago, IL – (ENEWSPF)—December 14, 2015. A group of community leaders, service providers, and families invited the press to watch them play the lottery this afternoon, exactly one week after legislators and the Governor authorized $1 billion for lottery winners.  Participants represented some of the over 200 organizations that make up the Responsible Budget Coalition. Attempting to win money to donate to the state for the many critical state services that remain unfunded, they came up woefully short of the billions of dollars needed to prevent further cuts to services for seniors, college students, children with disabilities, homeless families, and immigrants and refugees.  The group won just $4, after spending $14 on lottery scratch-off tickets.

Before attendees scratched their tickets, Citizen Action Illinois Co-Director William McNary told reporters that the group knew playing the lottery would not solve the state’s budget crisis.  “It’s up to the Governor and lawmakers to enact a responsible budget,” said McNary.  “They need to give our families and communities a real chance to succeed by choosing revenue and tax fairness over more cuts to vital services.”

McNary purchased one Powerball ticket for $2, at one in 20 million odds, and will have to wait until Wednesday evening to find out if he’ll win anything to donate to the state for critical services.

McNary was joined by Kurt Florian, President and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago.  Florian noted how the defunding of epilepsy grants was harming children.  He detailed a facility closure in Springfield and cutbacks at Epilepsy centers in Rockford and Chicago.  “Today, I’m only risking the loss of a couple dollars, so the stakes aren’t that high. But by failing to choose revenue and fund epilepsy services, the Governor and lawmakers are literally risking the lives of children,” Florian said.

Charlie Hogan, a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans, spoke about Meals on Wheels sites in Springfield, Alton, and DuPage County cutting the number of days they serve meals. “It makes me sick that my fellow seniors are being robbed of their health and dignity because the Governor and many lawmakers refuse to choose revenue,” Hogan said.

Celina Villanueva from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights spoke about the defunding of the Immigrant Services Line Item.  She noted that a $1 investment in New Americans, yields a $5 return for the state.  “The Governor and lawmakers must choose revenue – including asking millionaires and corporations to pay their fair share – instead of cutting off opportunities for hard-working New American families and their children,” she said.

Members of the Responsible Budget Coalition will continue to put pressure on the Governor and lawmakers to immediately enact a responsible budget that ends harmful cuts to services for children, seniors, families, and communities by choosing revenue.

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The Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) is a large and diverse coalition of approximately 200 organizations concerned about state budget and tax issues. It includes organizations that serve children, families, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities; education groups concerned about early learning, K-12 and higher education; labor unions; faith-based and civic organizations; and many others.

The individual organizations that belong to the RBC represent a diverse range of interests but are united by these three common principles:

  • Adequate revenue to support state priorities and make smart investments
  • No more cuts to vital programs and services
  • Fairness in raising revenue

Source: Responsible Budget Coalition

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