An email exchange between Illinois Department of Human Services spokeswoman Januari Smith and Marvin Lindsey with Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois, reveals that tax dollars are being used to lobby for higher taxes.
In emails obtained by the Illinois News Network through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Smith discusses passing out talking points to the special interest group so they can lobby lawmakers for making the temporary tax hike permanent. Smith also encourages letters being sent to newspaper editors in support of the tax hike.
While there is nothing illegal about this, it does raise questions about whether the state bureaucracy should be a neutral entity implementing policy or a partisan instrument making policy.
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From: Marvin Lindsey
To: Smith, Januari
Cc: Green, Tom; Frank Anselmo; Terry Carmichael; Sheryl Turpin
Subject: RE: DHS FY 15 budget
Date: Monday, April 07, 2014 3:51:51 PM
Attachments: FY 2015 Additional State Revenues.040414.pdf
SJRCA 40 Factsheet -Harmon -Rates-Calculator-Fiscal -Cliff-FINAL2 -03 31 14.pdf
Please find some information that our association sent out to our members. As you can see, the information attached is inline with the Gov’s budget presentation and the Leadership’s push for new revenue. This will also be presented and discussed at the Behavioral Health Advocacy Day forum (Tuesday- 9:30am-12pm). You and Tom are welcome to attend. Our association started this process 5 months ago. We began by having our members communicate to their legislators the value that their programs have brought to their communities.
We have our first Board meeting this Wednesday since the Governor’s budget address. Our Board will finalize our position and we will send out our communication to our networks, partners and others.
Will be in touch
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From: Smith, Januari [mailto:Januari.Smith@Illinois.gov]
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2014 11:24 AM
To: Marvin Lindsey
Cc: Green, Tom; Smith, Januari Subject: DHS FY 15 budget Importance: High
Good morning Marvin,
As you know, if the income tax status quo is not maintained, social service agencies will see drastic budget cuts, which will have devastating effects on the people we serve. At our last SSAC meeting, members agreed to write letters to legislators in support of the Governor’s proposed FY15 budget. I was wondering if you guys have had a chance to draft that yet? If so, may I take a peek? Also, in order to get the message out to a broader audience, I was hoping you could also send the letter to newspaper editors across the state. We really need your help!! Thoughts?
I see that your Advocacy Day is tomorrow. What’s your plan? Will you be delivering the letters or other docs to legislators tomorrow?
Here are some talking points you may want to use:
• Access to vital services, such as crisis care and residential care, would be greatly diminished for 140,000 adults and children with mental illnesses. Lack of access to services will:
§ Overwhelm capacity at state institutions, jails and hospital emergency departments
§ Pose significant public safety and public health concern
• All state operated MHCs will be in immediate risk of federal decertification and state will lose ability to claim Medicaid dollars
• State operated MHC closures
• 26,500 uninsured clients would not have access to emergency psychiatric medications
• Funding for substance abuse treatment would be eliminated
§ loss of programming would result in higher crime, overdose deaths and drunk driving crashes and arrests.
IL Dept. of Human Services
(217) 558-1544 office
(217) 725-8212 cell