On Wednesday, Grassroots Collaborative member organizations headed down to Springfield to refute Governor Rauner’s continued policy of disinvestment and call for a People’s Agenda that invests in the people of Illinois, keeps our communities safe, and generates the resources to rebuild.
The People’s Agenda Legislative Platform
Illinois needs investments in our people, measures to keep our communities safe, and new revenue so that we can rebuild our state. We cannot solve our problems with cuts – working and middle-class families have already been cut to the bone. In order to reverse growing poverty in Illinois, fight back against racism, and support women and children in Illinois, we need a bold agenda that puts the people of Illinois at the center.
The People’s Agenda Legislative Platform includes legislation that is being championed by members of several coalitions, including: Grassroots Collaborative, Black Roots Alliance, Fair Economy Illinois, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Tuition Free Illinois and other civic and labor organizations.
Investing In the People of Illinois
Legislation to pass a $15 minimum wage that would phase in over the course of 5 years in the state of Illinois. Raising the wage will boost our economy and bring more tax revenue into the state as more folks spend in their communities to purchase goods and services.
Childcare Expansion: HB3213 (Rep. Wallace)
Due to deep cuts made by Governor Rauner, the Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) remains unavailable to more than 14,000 children. This bill restores children of parents who are in education and training programs back into the Childcare Assistance Program, and begins the critical work of childcare expansion.
The Community Care Program (CCP) helps seniors live in their homes and community longer, avoiding premature and more costly nursing home care. Governor Rauner has proposed creating a new program called the Community Reinvestment Program (CRP), which will cut nearly $200 million from CCP and in-home services for seniors in Illinois. If created, CRP would cut and gravely reduce care to 43,000 seniors currently in CCP.
This legislation will protect those currently receiving care and potentially expand who can receive care. If the ACA is repealed, 671,000 people in Illinois stand to lose health coverage. At the very least we must fight to protect the current system which keeps many of our community hospitals afloat. Over the course of a year and half, Medicaid expansion brought 3.4 billion dollars into the state economy.
Rent Control: HB2430 (Rep. Guzzardi)
Repeals the law that prevents rent control from being enacted in Illinois communities.
Free College Tuition
Legislation to require the state to administer grant funding each year to each state university, based on enrollment, to replace the tuition they would otherwise have received. This initiative will lift the burden of debt from the shoulders of the next generation of Illinoisans and their families, freeing them to spend money in the state’s economy, while attracting businesses and families to Illinois for quality college education.
Elected Representative School Board: HB1774 (Rep. Martwick)
The bill establishes elections (rather than appointments) for the City of Chicago Board of Education through the election of members in representative districts across the city. This bill expands democracy and community input into a school district that has been under the complete control of one man since 1995.
Making Our Communities Safe
Violence prevention: HB3166 (Rep. Stratton)
Comprehensive legislation which will prioritize five key areas of investment in order to stem the violence escalating in communities: street intervention programming, youth jobs, after school program investment, trauma-informed care, and supports for those in contact with the criminal justice system.
Criminal Justice Reform
Sweeping criminal justice legislation, that not only works to address racial inequities in incarceration and policing, but also aims to reinvest the dollars spent on locking up low-level, non-violent and juvenile offenders, putting that money back in the communities that have been most impacted by mass incarceration. Supports programming that addresses recidivism, youth employment, and other community-centered violence prevention initiatives.
Protecting Immigrant Communities: HB426 (Rep. Welch)
Creates the Immigration Safe Zones Act. Establishes that schools, medical treatment and health care facilities, and places of worship may not grant access to law enforcement officers working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take action against suspected immigration law violations without a warrant.
Generating the Resources to Rebuild
Protecting Taxpayer Dollars from Predatory Wall St. Deals: HB 2718 (Rep. Welch)
Requires evaluation of state financial contracts, including interest rate swaps, in order to know the financial costs of these hidden agreements. Provides that if these agreements have resulted in losses, all necessary efforts to recover those moneys will be made. Prevents the state from entering into high risk Wall Street deals like swaps in the future.
Close the Carried Interest Loophole: SB 1719/HB 3393 (Sen. Biss/Rep. Welch)
Imposes a privilege tax on hedge fund managers and private equity traders whose large profits currently go untaxed. Estimated revenue of $473 million would fund K-12 education.
Payment Prioritization: HM3871 (Rep. Martwick)
This bill provides that the Comptroller’s efforts to manage priorities during times of fiscal distress, should include issuing payments for education and human services before issuing payments for financial services. Provides for a continuing appropriation for funding of public education and human services.
Closing Corporate Loopholes
This bill closes nine corporate tax loopholes and raises $924M in new revenue for Illinois. These loopholes, including profits from offshore oil drilling and money held in off-shore tax havens, allow big corporations to increase their profits at the expense of the people of Illinois.
TIF money for school wrap-around services: HB3720 (Rep. Harper)
The bill creates parameters for TIF surpluses in Chicago and mandates that money is used for school-based social services like social workers and school nurses, and special education services. This measure addresses both deep cuts to special education and the dire need for trauma-informed social services for thousands of Chicago students.
FRIENDLY Act: HB3522 (Rep. Martwick)
The bill establishes clear and increased funding streams for K-12 and higher education, social service providers, and pension obligations through the resetting of sales, property, and income tax rates. It addresses Illinois’ structural deficit, its long-term challenges related to pension funding, and the insufficient and inequitable funding of Illinois’ public schools and universities.