Let’s be honest. Anyone who claims that the state of Illinois has no need for a tax increase to pay its bills is uninformed or lying. Or both.

Illinois owes $11 billion – that’s billion – in overdue bills to thousands of vendors, including mental health and drug treatment providers. Moreover, when Illinois finally pays a bill it takes three to six months for providers to receive payment. Community behavioral health care providers in Illinois are on the front line every day, 365 days a year, keeping mothers, fathers and children out of hospital emergency rooms, out of county jail and on the job.

Could you wait three, four or six months for a paycheck? Well, behavioral health providers can’t either.

Providers have laid-off employees and cut or frozen the pay of workers who are left. They have cut mental health services, impacting thousands of individuals, many of whom are your neighbors. They have created waiting lists. If a child or mother has a mental health crisis, on the waiting list they go.

Is this any way to run a railroad?

Illinois’ elected officials need to approve a budget, no matter politically painful that it may be, and include a tax increase to pay our bills. Period. Honestly, can they claim with a straight face that there is another choice?

Sara Moscato Howe, CEO
Illinois Association for Behavior Health
Springfield

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Giangreco got it right

I don’t see why ABC-7 sports anchor Mark Giangreco  is being reprimanded for tweeting that it is sad Donald Trump was elected president. Many of us believe that is the truth. People of intelligence believe it is a sad day for our country when the likes of Trump is elected president by a lot of not so smart people. What on Earth do these people think Trump has in common with a working person?

Connie Orland, Plainfield

Pope Francis got it right, too

I commend Pope Francis for criticizing pious Catholics who in their greed exploit the poor, especially workers. He correctly denounced this hypocrisy. He was poignant when he said, “But to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.” I only wish the Roman Catholic Church would practice what it preaches. For example, Chicago archdiocesan lay teachers are greatly underpaid in comparison to their city and suburban public school counterparts. Furthermore, many if not most Catholic institutions do not allow their employees to form unions. Lastly, the American Roman Catholic Church owns billions of dollars of property for which it does not pay property tax.

Peter V. Grafner, Forest Glen