The state must be careful about how and how much it cuts spending, an interest group says. Cut too much, and Illinois will lose what it has gained over the years, says Kathleen A. Ryg, a former state lawmaker and now head of the group Voices for Illinois Children.
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“As recently as 2008, Illinois was a national leader in early childhood education, in social and emotional learning, and in health care coverage for children. A national leader as recently as 2008,” she said. But 18,000 students have lost access to early childhood education since then, due to budget cuts or late payments. Ryg says cutting spending in some instances will end up costing the state more. For example, the 17 percent cut made to pre-natal case management, which prevents premature births, will cost more in Medicaid, she says.