N-G shows how state shortchanges vets

N-G shows how state shortchanges vets

The April 27 reporting by Christine Des Garennes was very instructive about the Illinois Veteran Grant program, an education entitlement established in 1967 for Illinois veterans. This illustrates several "beefs" many citizens have with those who run our state government:

— Chronic mismatches between politicians' words and deeds.

— Unfunded mandates increasingly thrust by the state onto lower governmental entities.

— State government's habit of shortchanging some obligations in the budget in order to shift funds to more politically advantageous areas.

Specifically, during 2007-2010, Speaker Mike Madigan and Gov. Rod Blagojevich appropriated only 49 percent of the Illinois Veteran Grant claims incurred, leaving 51 percent to be paid by various Illinois higher educational institutions serving those veterans.

Bad as that was, it has gotten much worse. During 2011-2015, Speaker Madigan and Gov. Pat Quinn have appropriated less than 4 percent of the veteran grant claims incurred, leaving over 96 percent to be paid by educational institutions statewide providing the services.

This cost-shift from the state to individual educational institutions under Madigan-Blago during 2007-2010 averaged $14.7 million annually, and under Madigan-Quinn during 2011-2015 has been averaging $27.4 million annually. These amounts are, unfortunately, mere round-off errors compared with the massive, ongoing Illinois Medicaid fraud partially uncovered by the independent public investigation which Gov. Quinn halted, so our political leadership might almost be forgiven for perpetrating such tiny veteran grant diversions.

Still, this example may interest those who support Illinois veterans, and also the voting public, which will no doubt be told in coming months how highly the Madigan-Quinn-Democratic forces "care" about supporting our veterans.




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