I represent one of the most diverse districts in the state. That diversity is not just racial, ethnic, or religious: it is also socioeconomic. The income ranges of my constituents span the full spectrum. In Illinois, we are failing the folks at the lower end of that spectrum. Our social service safety net has been devastated by years of budget fights and neglect. We have real opportunities to raise more revenue without increasing the tax burdens on the lower and middle classes. We must do so, and reinvest those proceeds into building an Illinois where those living in poverty have meaningful support and opportunity.
One major area for change is our income tax system. Unlike most every other state in America (and the federal government), Illinois uses a flat tax, where rich and poor alike pay the same percentage of their income. It's past time to amend the constitution to allow for a progressive tax structure that can increase revenue while actually decreasing the tax burden on the majority of Illinoisans. Another is in the closing of several major corporate tax loopholes which allow some of our richest corporations to avoid paying their fair share.
Taxes aren't the only realm of economic justice we need to improve upon. We must lift the statewide ban on rent control, allowing municipalities like Chicago to decide for themselves if rent control is the right solution to our crisis of affordable housing. We have to increase pay for undervalued professions like direct service providers, and pass budgets that have spending for social services and education that more accurately reflect their massive societal value.
We have recently had a victory in February 2019! We successfully raised the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, giving around raise to about 25% of Illinois’s workers.
HB 3112 - Amends Worker's Compensation Act
This amendment to the Worker’s Compensation Act provides that a contagious staph infection is presumed to arise out of the course of employment for firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
HB 3113 - No Copay Dermatological Exam
Illinois law provides that most preventative care is accessible without a copay to encourage preventative health activities. As a frequent skin cancer patient, I know the value of early detection and see my dermatologist almost as often as I see my dentist. But, unlike my dental check ups or gynecological exams, a visit to the dermatologist isn't classified as preventative and can result in hefty co-pays. HB 3113 will place these lifesaving exams in the same category in the hopes that others will take the steps to protect from a very curable form of cancer that when not caught early can have devastating results.
I am happy to say that this bill passed both chambers this spring and has been sent to Governor Pritzker to be signed as of June 28, 2019. It will be effective January 1, 2020.
SJRCA 1 - Progressive Tax
The Progressive Tax is a new proposed tax structure on which Illinoisans will vote in 2020 to decide if it is right for our state. Currently, Illinois has a flat tax on income, so residents of all socioeconomic statuses pay income taxes at the same percentage. We are one of seven states in the country with a flat tax, as it is written into our constitution. The aim of SJRCA 1 is to amend our state constitution to create a fair, graduated tax for all residents. With this progressive tax, 98.6% of taxpayers in our district would be paying the same or less , and only 0.1% would pay the top rate.
The Progressive Tax passed in the General Assembly this spring, and it will appear on the ballot for Illinoisans to vote on in 2020. On their website, the office of the Governor provides a link to calculate the potential tax rates for you and your family here.
I have not included all my legislation here, but please feel free to visit the Illinois General Assembly Website to view all the bills I have introduced or am co-sponsoring!