To the Editor:
On behalf of the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF), we wholeheartedly thank State Senator Kwame Raoul for his part in ending our state’s enormously destructive two-year budget impasse. By joining a bipartisan effort to pass a balanced budget, Senator Raoul helped Illinois begin to regain its fiscal footing.
This is particularly important to the IEJF, because our work relies on state funding. That funding had been a casualty of the budget stalemate, depriving nearly 36,000 Illinoisans of vital legal aid. Families, workers, seniors, veterans, and many others who cannot afford legal representation were left in the lurch.
Thanks to Senator Raoul and his colleagues, civil legal aid funding was restored in the new budget. Low-income people in the 13th Legislative District, and across the state, will have the legal support they need as they confront potentially life-changing crises, such as domestic violence, foreclosure, consumer fraud, and loss of veterans’ benefits. The leadership and perseverance our legislators showed, in the face of enormous political pressure, will help keep vulnerable people housed, safe and economically independent.
Civil legal aid is more than just a responsibility to our fellow citizens. It is also a worthwhile investment in our communities. For every $1 invested in legal aid, Illinois gains $1.80 in economic benefits.
Again, we commend Senator Raoul for joining in the bipartisan vote to enact a balanced budget, bring our state back from the brink of bankruptcy, and restore civil legal aid funding for tens of thousands of Illinoisans.
Illinois Equal Justice Foundation