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AARP to Host Illinois Issues Forum in Moline

AARP Illinois wants to know how the state's financial crisis has affected you. This Thursday in Moline, it will host the latest in a series of Illinois Issues Forums. Local residents will be able to talk about the state's financial status with a panel of experts.

Ryan Gruenenfelder, Director of Advocacy & Outreach for AARP Illinois, says the state has billions of dollars in unpaid bills, and pays hundreds of millions of dollars in interest on those bills. That's resulted in an abyssmal credit rating, and forced many state-funded non-profits to close.

"Those people that were working for all of those agencies have lost their jobs too, which has a ripple effect across the local economies within those communities. And that's something that really needs to be addressed, because once those services are gone, they're not coming back, or it's really hard to bring them back."

One study estimates each Illinois taxpayer would have to pay over $50,000 to balance the state's budget.

Members of the panel Thursday night will come from the Chamber of Commerce, Moline City Council, and the ARC of the Quad Cities.

"They'll be able to share how the Illinois fiscal crisis has impacted Moline and impacted Rock Island and the communities around those areas. On a community level, they have direct experience with it, and people that are coming to attend the forum will be able to listen to that, and they'll be able to respond to that."

This forum, co-sponsored with NPR Illinois, is free and open to the public, and will begin at 6 PM at CityView Celebrations in downtown Moline.