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Thursday, April 28, 2016 12:01 am

Editor’s note 4/28/16

 Voices for Illinois Children, the Chicago-based advocacy group, knows how to encourage children – and legislators – when they do something right. Emily Miller, the group’s policy and advocacy director, writes, “Since last week’s bipartisan agreement to provide emergency cash to higher education, a narrative of regret and finger-pointing has emerged from officials who are afraid the move displays political weakness. On the contrary, reaching a bipartisan agreement on the merits of a budget-related issue shows promise.”

It is good to get along on the playground, kids, but there’s more work to do. Miller continues: “To be clear, the agreement was a far cry from a solution. The emergency cash infusion to higher education will run out by the end of the summer, and the ongoing damage to human service providers who got left out of this deal entirely will continue to mount. We’re still on track to have upwards of $10 billion in unpaid bills by the end of the fiscal year in June. We still have no realistic plan to pay FY16’s unpaid bills, let alone an entire FY17 budget for the year that begins July 1.”

For children, and lawmakers, it helps to end with a word of encouragement. “If elected officials keep talking and listening to each other,” Miller writes, “they’ll be able to negotiate a responsible budget that invests in children, families and communities across Illinois.” –Fletcher Farrar, editor and publisher

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