Lawmakers Meet with Easter Seals to Talk About Budget

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The budget impasse continues to hurt programs and agencies across the state and many more are at risk, the longer this continues.

Organizations like Easter Seals are set-up to help people in need, however, the lack of a budget is taking away crucial funds needed to operate, and the Rockford location is owed more than $400,000 from the state.

Today State Representative Litesa Wallace and State Senator Steve Stadelman met with Easter Seals staff as well as a woman who recently went through one of their programs.

Asia Housen spoke with the lawmakers on how the organization's home visiting program helped her through her teen pregnancy, and have made her a better mother for her five year old Brooklynn.

Both Wallace and Stadelman believe something can be done down in Springfield, however, it just isn't.

"What's unfortunately motivating the impasse is that it is an election year and both sides are trying to gain leverage from a dysfunctional government to increase their chances come November," said Stadelman.

"I don't think there's anything preventing us from coming together and we have those conversations on our own, bipartisan conversations, but just the structure of our system may prevent those things from moving forward," said Wallace.

Easter Seals was going to lose its TAP program, which helps people with autism, because of the loss in funding.

But a donation from the Rockford Icehogs has helped keep parts of it open for the time being.

More than 2,000 home visits were made in 2015 to women for maternal, infant and early childhood in the Rockford area.

Overall, four organizations do these home visits including the City of Rockford, La Voz Latina and Rockford Public Schools.

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