Karla Miller, the widow of an Illinois State Police trooper who died while on duty, was surprised to learn Monday that her next survivor-benefits check won't arrive until state government gets a new budget.This whole budget situation is actually affecting people. It's affecting public transit in the Chicagoland area. It's affecting those school districts who need to set up their budgets (capitol & operating). Now a widow who lost her husband in the line of duty as a State Trooper isn't going to get her survivor's check.
She got another surprise when she tried to alert Gov. Rod Blagojevich's legislative office to her situation. Miller said the man she spoke to eventually hung up on her. She didn't get his full name.
"He was very flippant and just said, you know, we're all worried about the budget and we'll get it fixed and that kind of thing," she said. "He started to get a little testy with me, and I started to get a little testy back, and then he hung up on me."
Miller's husband, Rodney, was killed in May 2006 in a traffic accident in rural Champaign County. His survivors include Karla, 41, and their two sons, now ages 11 and 12.
Karla Miller, who lives in Decatur, knew she hadn't received her monthly benefits check this month, but she thought maybe it had been lost in the mail.
She said she called the state police and was told that "no survivors will get their checks" until a budget is in place. Her check usually arrives in the first half of the month.
Lawmakers have sent the governor a $59 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. Blagojevich said last Tuesday that he would use his veto power to slash $500 million from the spending plan. He also wants to expand state-subsidized health care at a cost of $463 million.
As of late Monday, though, Blagojevich had not filed his promised veto, which would specify where he wants to make budget cuts. In the meantime, state government runs without a budget.
Miller, after hearing from the state police, said she called the governor's office "because I didn't know where else to call."
"What I wanted to get across to the governor is that, you're working out this big picture and trying to make all these political moves," Miller said. "And I don't think anybody's thinking of the people that are really affected by it."
She said she worries about others who are more dependent than she is on the survivor benefits.
"I'm not desperate for the money, yet," she said. "But it will get to that point because I just quit my job, and I'm dependent on this money as my source of income."
And let's see a representative of the Governor's office didn't handle it too well. It could suggest that he's tired of this whole budget situation himself. It's unfortunate that he took it out on a widow of an Illinois State Trooper.