Nine-year-old pleads for lawmakers to pass budget
As we count down the hours to a deadline for a budget, one family is speaking out and pleading for lawmakers to reach a deal.
In an effort to put a face to what she calls the real damage this budget crisis is causing, Comptroller Susana Mendoza introduced us to a little girl named Elena Perez.
"We're doing this thing for people like me so that they can live," said Elena. Nine-year-old Elena was born with only one lung, and 80% of her airway has collapsed.
"This right here - this is an artificial airway in my daughter's neck and her airway tubes have been cut in half," said Elena's mother, Lindsay Perez. "The amount of airway - trach tubes - that she receives per month has been cut." Elena's mother - outraged by the inaction of lawmakers - says she can do her job, and now it's time for lawmakers to step up and do theirs.
"The cost of home health nursing for a critically ill, complex child - $200,000 a year," Lindsay said. "And I'm saying take it, please. Come together, work together."
Comptroller Susana Mendoza agrees, saying lawmakers need to do the jobs they were elected to do. "If people do not understand that if they don't have a budget deal passed by June 30th at midnight, then I have just been talking to a brick wall this entire time," she said. "And I don't care if that's Democrats saying that or Republicans."
Comptroller Mendoza says the state has been operating at a $600 million deficit every month. "Here's where we're going to be come July 1st at 12:01 if we don't have a budget in place - in August, we'll be looking at either horrific financial consequences or catastrophic financial consequences," she said.
Elena made this plea to legislators, saying, "I would just say, if you could try hard enough, you could do it."
Currently, the State of Illinois has a $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills.