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Rutherford comments on Democrat's budget plan

Friday, May 23, 2003 Posted 12:30 a.m.
Springfield - The most recent budget plan making its way through the General Assembly restores funding in many key areas cut by the Governor-s original proposal, but couples those solutions with bigger problems, according to Senator Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac).

The Democrat plan includes a decrease in funding for nursing homes, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet. Specifically, the plan would eliminate funding to hold a bed in a nursing home when a resident leaves the nursing home to go to the hospital for medical needs.

-Each of us can go through parts of this budget and find a morsel of badness, something we do not agree with,- Rutherford said. -I can tell you right now that this plan will hurt the most frail in our society - the grandmas and grandpas who desperately need nursing home care and will not be able to depend on that bed being there when they return to the nursing home after hospitalization.-

Rutherford is also troubled with the Democrats- budget proposal to couple cost-of-living increases for members of the General Assembly with funding for front-line corrections workers. To vote for the restoration, lawmakers would also have to have voted for their own raise.

-I have the good fortune to represent two excellent correctional facilities - Dwight and Pontiac. I have gone to school with and church with and played ball with many of the corrections employees who will benefit from this plan; but the Democrats have coupled this with a raise for the General Assembly,- Rutherford said. -I am sorry we have to do this, but I cannot vote to give myself a raise given the state-s current financial situation and the fact that many state employees are not getting a raise.-

While portions of the budget gained approval, Rutherford and other lawmakers still await the revenue portions to accompany the plan.

-We have another week until the scheduled adjournment where we could work on these problems and pass the entire budget including the revenue sources,- concluded Rutherford.