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Grassroots Collaborative Response to Mayor Emanuel’s Budget Address

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Chicago, IL – The following is a statement from Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative on Mayor Emanuel’s budget address.

“Today’s budget address shows Mayor Emanuel’s continued commitment to policies that have failed Chicago’s families as he continues to prioritize the interests of city elites over those of working families. The Mayor has continued to raise taxes and fees on everyone and everything with the exception of wealthy individuals and corporations. Instead of pursuing regressive revenue fees that further hurt our city’s working families, the Mayor should be implementing revenue solutions such as reinvesting the TIF Surplus funds and reinstating the corporate head tax.

Rideshare and amusement taxes will not fix our city, neither will doling out taxpayer money to try and woo Amazon. Our city needs to reinvest in schools and Black and Brown neighborhoods. Failure to do so will result in more violence and more residents being pushed out of the city.”

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Illinois Trust Act Becomes Law

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On Monday, the Illinois Trust Act, a bill to create better relations between the immigrant and law enforcement became law. It is refreshing to see a bill that benefits Illinois being passed without the need for a veto override. Congratulations to the campaign for a #WelcomingIL and everybody who went down to fight for this bill with us as part of the Illinois People’s Agenda.

From NBC Chicago:

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Monday a measure to prevent law enforcement officials across the state from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status, and limit local agencies’ cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

The governor signed Senate Bill 31, known as the Illinois TRUST Act, in front of a crowd at the Mi Tierra restaurant in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

“Illinois has been welcoming of immigrants for a long time, and this bill will continue that tradition,” Rauner said in a statement. “It also makes clear that stopping violent crime will be law enforcement’s mission rather than working on federal prerogatives that a federal court has found illegal.”

 The General Assembly passed the bill in May, sending it to the Republican governor’s desk the following month. After spending nearly two months deciding what to do with it, Rauner first indicated during a radio interview earlier this month that he would support the bill, saying he thought “it seems very reasonable.”

The measure will prohibit police officers and other law enforcement officials from stopping, detaining, or arresting anyone based solely on their immigration status or an immigration detainer – effectively limiting the role of local authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Nothing in the bill – which was scaled back from its original form through negotiations involving advocacy groups, law enforcement, businesses and other stakeholders – prohibits agencies from communicating with immigration authorities, and local authorities can hold individuals if presented with a criminal warrant. The bill also includes a provision to require law enforcement agencies to provide officers with guidance on complying with the law.

“Immigrants in our community should not have to feel unsafe when they go to work or take their children to school,” the bill’s primary House sponsor, state Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside), said in a statement. “This legislation will ensure that proper legal procedures are being followed and provide peace of mind to members of our community.”

Read more here

 

Governor’s $15 Veto Will Hold Back Economy and Increase Economic Inequality in Illinois

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Chicago, IL – On Friday, Governor Rauner vetoed SB 81, which would have gradually raised the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Grassroots Collaborative is a labor-community coalition representing tens of thousands of Illinois low-income families whose lives and communities would have greatly benefited from the passage of SB 81. The following is a statement from Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative.

“Governor Rauner showed his true allegiances by protecting his wealthy friends at the expense of Illinois working families. By vetoing the bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Rauner denies a desperately needed raise to 40% of all Illinois workers – 46% of all female workers in Illinois, 48% of African American workers, and 61% of all Latino workers. After cutting funding to communities across the state by not passing a budget for two years, Rauner’s veto further devastates these 2.3 million Illinois workers. Bruce Rauner cares only about corporate CEOs and their lobbyists – and millions of workers will be the ones who pay the price.”

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Finally. Statement on Override of Governor Rauner’s Budget Veto

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Chicago, IL – Today, the Illinois House joined the Senate in overriding Governor Rauner’s veto of the state budget giving the state its first budget in years. The following is a statement from Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative.

“Finally, state legislators have pushed aside Rauner’s obstructionism to pass a state budget. Community residents have been fighting for years for a fully funded budget and are clear that this is not enough. The budget provides insufficient funding for critical services and asks Illinois families to foot the bill instead of demanding the wealthy pay their fair share by implementing progressive revenue solutions such as closing the carried interest loophole or a financial transaction tax. But it is a budget and it is progress.

At the same time we recognize this step forward, we deplore the lives and livelihoods lost as a result of it taking so long to get to this point. We mourn for every breast cancer screening that came too late, for the jobs lost across the state, and for every resident denied the help they needed as result of this tragic and unnecessary crisis.

Grassroots Collaborative thanks the tens of thousands of Illinois residents who worked to make their voices heard by writing letters, making phone calls, and visiting legislators. We remain committed to fighting for a People’s Agenda that puts the interests of the people of Illinois over those of deep-pocketed political donors.”

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Grassroots Collaborative is Hiring

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We are excited to announce that Grassroots Collaborative is hiring for 2 positions. We are eager to fill these positions as soon as possible, and appreciate your help spreading the word!

Grassroots Collaborative is an equal-opportunity employer.  People of color strongly encouraged to apply.  For consideration, send a resume, cover letter, and three references to hiring@thegrassrootscollaborative.org.  No calls, please.  Position open until filled.

Chicago-based Campaigns Organizer: We are seeking an energetic organizer to help lead our People’s Agenda Campaign work in Chicago. We are developing exciting plans for the summer and d fall, and are looking for a qualified candidate who is excited to fight against Rauner’s anti-working family agenda and for a bold new agenda that will make Illinois a state where all of our communities can thrive.

Read Job Description

TITLE: Organizer – People’s Agenda Campaign

SUPERVISED BY: Field Director

SUPERVISES: some supervisory responsibility over interns

SALARY/HOURLY, EXEMPT OR NONEXEMPT: Salaried, Exempt, Full-time position

ORGANIZATIONAL SUMMARY: Grassroots Collaborative (501c3) builds power with working families through strategic community-labor organizing, grassroots leadership development, civic engagement, and research. We organize to win progressive policies and systems-change that improve the lives of low-to-moderate income residents and communities of color. We utilize popular education to build consciousness, and build organization that unites residents to create transformative change for a more just society. Our affiliated 501c4, Grassroots Illinois Action, works to build community political power through issue advocacy and electoral strategies.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Grassroots Collaborative engages in campaigns to make corporations, big banks, and the rich pay their fair share.  Currently, our member organizations are facing the combined threat of public financial crises on three levels – Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, and Illinois.  As part of a larger strategy to win revenue for the programs, schools, and services our communities deserve, we have launched the People’s Agenda campaign.  Combining legislative, communications and organizing strategies this campaign advances bold demands for major investments in our communities and taxes on the wealthy and large corporations to pay for those investments.  

POSITION SUMMARY: We are seeking an experienced community, labor or coalition organizer with campaign experience.  The campaign organizer will help develop campaign strategy, coordinate campaign activity among our member organizations, conduct popular education sessions and lead public actions to grow public awareness of our campaign and build pressure on our targets to adopt the People’s Agenda demands.  The organizer is responsible for leading a field campaign this summer among members and allies to engage voters to win adoption of recently passed legislation, as well as growing the coalition supporting the People’s Agenda beyond the summer work.  This position calls for a person with bold ideas, tactical creativity, and a commitment to developing long-term strategies that generate intermediate wins.  We are looking for a strong team player, who can also work independently.  The ideal candidate will have an ability to identify strategic opportunities as well as have a deep commitment to movement-building.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Coalition Building – Identify and recruit new People’s Agenda endorsers.  Maintain communication with coalition partners and engage them in digital, legislative and street actions.

  • Political Education & Leadership Development– Conduct workshops and presentations that educate our member organizations about the origins of our fiscal crises and prepare members to lead elements of the People’s Agenda campaign.  
  • Communications – Work with the Communications Director to create and amplify a public narrative about the need to curb the power of the finance sector, and for the wealthy to pay their fair share.
  • Direct Action – Develop and execute a variety of member-led actions that move our campaign objectives forward.

  • Legislative – Implement grassroots lobbying strategies to educate legislators about the People’s Agenda platform and to move them to support our policy solutions.

  • Other roles: Participate in Grassroots Collaborative staff team and other organization-wide meetings and activities.  Additional roles and responsibilities as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least 2 years full-time labor, community or constituency organizing experience
  • Strong organizational, leadership, and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to motivate and inspire others
  • Willingness to work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, and travel to Springfield
  • An energetic commitment to social justice and working within an anti-oppression framework
  • Experience with corporate campaigns, interest in Wall Street accountability a plus
  • Coalition building and coordination skills
  • Excellent verbal communication and writing skills.  Ability to communicate effectively with staff and grassroots leaders
  • Spanish language skills are a plus
  • Proficient in Excel, Powerpoint, Word
  • Excellent team player, able to meet deadlines and work independently, innovative, creative

Work Environment:  

  • This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, filing cabinets, and fax machines 
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to stand; walk; use hands to finger, handle or feel; and reach with hands and arms. The employee must frequently lift and/or move objects up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move objects up to 40 pounds 
  • Some travel in the Chicago metro area is required, along with Springfield 
  • Workplace is a smoke-and drug-free environment

Grassroots Collaborative is an equal-opportunity employer.  People of color strongly encouraged to apply.  For consideration, send a resume, cover letter, and three references to hiring@thegrassrootscollaborative.org.  No calls, please.  Position open until filled.

People’s Agenda Campaign Organizer

Coalition Organizer (Central Illinois): We are working with partners to launch new coalition work in cities outside of Chicago. We will begin this summer in Peoria. We are looking to hire a coalition organizer based in Central Illinois (or someone willing to travel regularly), with solid labor and/or community organizing experience.

Read Job Description

TITLE: Coalition Organizer

SUPERVISED BY: Field Director

SUPERVISES: some supervisory responsibility over interns

SALARY/HOURLY, EXEMPT OR NONEXEMPT: Salaried, Exempt, Full-time position

ORGANIZATIONAL SUMMARY: Grassroots Collaborative (501c3) unites 11 member organization to build power with working families through strategic community-labor organizing, grassroots leadership development, civic engagement, and research. We organize to win progressive policies and systems-change that improve the lives of low-to-moderate income residents and communities of color. We utilize popular education to build consciousness, and build organization that unites residents to create transformative change for a more just society. Our affiliated 501c4, Grassroots Illinois Action, works to build community political power through issue advocacy and electoral strategies.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Grassroots Collaborative engages in campaigns to make corporations, big banks, and the rich pay their fair share.  Our member organizations are facing the combined impact of public financial crises (state budget impasse) and decades of disinvestment from communities of color.  As part of a larger strategy to win revenue for the programs, schools, and services our communities deserve, we have launched the People’s Agenda campaign.  Combining legislative, communications and organizing strategies this campaign advances bold demands for major investments in our communities and taxes on the wealthy and large corporations to pay for those investments.   In the summer of 2017 we are launching an initiative to begin building labor-community alliances in 3-4 Illinois cities, to grow the power of working families and communities of color beyond Chicago and across the state.

POSITION SUMMARY:  We are seeking an experienced community or labor organizer, either based in Central Illinois, or able to travel and spend 3-4 days/week in Peoria and additional communities.  The organizer will work closely with Grassroots Collaborative member organizations in those geographies, and ally organizations as well, to engage grassroots leaders in the People’s Agenda Campaign and other local issues that are identified by those leaders.  The organizer will work with our partners to launch a pilot project in Peoria, and will start organizing in a 2nd geography in the fall of 2017.  The organizer will help recruit and develop coalition partners, contribute to campaign strategy, communicate with and motivate existing and potential members, assist in legislative efforts, educate and mobilize low information voters, conduct popular education sessions, and lead public actions. The ideal candidate will be reliable, engaging, and hold a deep commitment to leadership development and empowerment.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Coalition Building – Identify and recruit new People’s Agenda endorsers and local organizations that want to work together in a labor-community coalition  Maintain communication with partners and engage them in digital, legislative and street actions.
  • Political Education & Leadership Development– Conduct workshops and presentations that educate union members and grassroots leaders about the origins of our fiscal crises and prepare members to lead elements of the People’s Agenda campaign. 
  • Communications – Work with the Communications Director to create and amplify a locally appropriate public narrative about the need to curb the power of the finance sector, and for the wealthy to pay their fair share. 
  • Direct Action – In collaboration with our partners, develop and execute a variety of member-led actions that move our campaign objectives forward.
  • Legislative – Implement grassroots lobbying strategies to educate legislators about the People’s Agenda platform and to move them to support our policy solutions.  
  • Other roles: Participate in Grassroots Collaborative staff team and other organization-wide meetings and activities.  Additional roles and responsibilities as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • A minimum of 2 years full-time labor, community or constituency organizing experience
  • Strong organizational, leadership, and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to motivate and inspire others
  • Willingness to work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, and travel
  • An energetic commitment to social justice and working within an anti-oppression framework
  • Coalition building and coordination skills
  • Excellent verbal communication and writing skills.  Ability to communicate effectively with staff and grassroots leaders
  • Demonstrated ability to lead direct actions and events
  • Spanish language skills are a plus
  • Proficient in Excel, Powerpoint, Word
  • Excellent team player, able to meet deadlines and work independently, innovative, creative
  • Valid Driver’s License

Work Environment:  

This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, filing cabinets, and fax machines.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to stand; walk; use hands to finger, handle or feel; and reach with hands and arms. The employee must frequently lift and/or move objects up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move objects up to 40 pounds
  • Travel within Central Illinois, between Central Illinois and Chicago is required. Occasionally, some out-of-the-area travel may be expected 
  • Workplace is a smoke-and drug-free environment

Grassroots Collaborative is an equal-opportunity employer.  People of color strongly encouraged to apply.  For consideration, send a resume, cover letter, and three references to hiring@thegrassrootscollaborative.org.  No calls, please.  Position open until filled.

Central Illinois Coalition Organizer

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People’s Agenda Update

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Springfield ended their regular legislative session – once again without a budget in place. But instead of packing up and going home for the summer, they are going into overtime. This means that there is still time to win the fully-funded budget that our communities deserve.

But that’s not all we’ll be fighting for. In the last few weeks of the regular session Grassroots Collaborative, working with our partners and allies, moved forward some key pieces of the Illinois People’s Agenda platform.

Click here to send a quick thank you to the legislators who helped champion the Illinois People’s Agenda this legislative session.

$15 Minimum Wage SB 81 (Senator Hutchinson/ Rep. Guzzardi) –

Legislation to raise the state minimum wage to $15/hr passed out of the Illinois House and Senate and is now headed to the Governor’s desk.


Illinois Trust Act SB 31 (President Cullerton /Rep. Hernandez /Rep. Welch) –

Legislation to provide protection for Illinois immigrant communities passed out of both the Illinois House and Senate and is headed to the Governor’s desk. 


Elected Representative School Board HB 1774 (Rep. Martwick/Sen. Raoul) –

Legislation to give control of the Chicago school board back to the people of Chicago passed out of the House and Senate. After one more vote in the House (on an amendment) it will be headed to the Governor’s desk.


Closing the Carried Interest Tax Loophole SB 1719 (Rep. Welch/Sen. Biss) –

Legislation that will close the expensive carried interest tax loophole in Illinois passed out of the Senate and is currently being considered as a revenue option in the House budget negotiations. 


Restoring Childcare Assistance for Low-Income Students HB 3213 (Rep. Wallace/Sen. Aquino/Sen. Biss)

Legislation to restore the cuts made to the child care assistance program passed out of the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor’s desk. 


Payment Prioritization HB 3871 (Rep. Martwick) –

Legislation to prioritize paying for human services and education before Wall Street banks passed out of the House executive committee. Bill has been granted an extension to June 30th to be passed. 


TIF Money for School Wrap-Around Services HB 3720 (Rep. Harper) –

Legislation creates parameters for TIF surpluses and mandates that money is used for school-based social services like social workers and school nurses, and special education services. Bill passed the Illinois House and will be taken up in the Senate in the future.  


During this overtime session we will be asking you to contact your legislators and Governor Rauner at key points to make sure that this legislation gets over the finish line. But before we do that we want to ask you to take a moment to thank our champions in the legislature who helped us get to this point.

Click here to send a message thanking the sponsors of People’s Agenda legislation.

And THANK YOU for everything you have done to move the People’s Agenda platform forward. I look forward to fighting alongside you in the months to come.

Together we will win the state we deserve.

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IL Senate Passes Hedge Fund Tax to Close Loophole

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Illinois Department of Revenue Estimates SB 1719 Would Raise $1.7 Billion for State in First 12 Months

Chicago, IL – On Tuesday, May 23rd, the Illinois Senate voted 34-24-1 in favor of passing SB 1719. The legislation places a privilege tax on Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers like Bruce Rauner and Ken Griffin who exploit a federal tax loophole to get a lower tax rate than that paid by many working Americans.  

Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative, explained, “This is great news for Illinois residents that have been languishing under an extended budget impasse. Illinois needs new revenue. SB 1719 generates significant revenue – raising it from  those who have profited for years off of a rigged tax system, instead of asking for more sacrifices from our most vulnerable residents.”   

“This is an important step in creating the kind of state we want to live in,” stated Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), lead sponsor of SB 1719. “We have a small group of very wealthy individuals using an archaic loophole to avoid paying their share, at the expense of other taxpayers and vital social services. Illinois now has an opportunity to right this wrong, to move towards greater fairness, and raise $1.7 billion in new annual revenue that our state desperately needs.”

Representative Welch (D-Hillside), lead sponsor of the legislation in the Illinois House added, “I believe that to those whom much is given much is required- and so far Illinois Hedge Funds have given very little and taken an awful lot. At a time when our seniors are being asked to go without, our public universities are at risk, and shelters are being shut down we can not afford to wait. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in the House to quickly pass this legislation and get it on the Governor’s desk.”

“The people that make the most of this loophole will not change their line of work if it is eliminated. They make plenty of money with or without it, and the tax advantage that they receive due to this rule is not the reason they are in it. They are in the business because they make a ton of money doing it. And that is OK. But the absurd advantage they receive due to this rule is just that; absurd! So simply change the law so that it treats them the same way that John Q Public is treated…or myself, I might add, who paid in last year at a 38% rate (happily so) on a pretty good number,” concluded Stephen Prince with the Patriotic Millionaires, CEO of Sterling Card Solutions.

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IL Senate Passes Illinois Trust Act

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On Thursday, the Illinois Trust Act passed out of the Illinois Senate with a  31-21 vote.

From Illinois Patch:

The Illinois Senate passed a bill aimed at encouraging cooperation between undocumented immigrants and state law enforcement agencies while discouraging unwarranted cooperation between federal immigration. The Trust Act, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), passed 31-21 Thursday and will be taken up by the House this week.

“If someone is going to be detained in Illinois it should be because an actual crime has occurred, not because of how they look, what they believe or what paperwork they may or may not have,” said Cullerton.

The Senate proposal, SB31, would ban the detention of immigrants in local jails by federal authorities without criminal warrants, stop federal agents from arresting people inside state-funded school or health care facilities, and bar any local participating in a federal immigrant or religious registry. The bill would also strengthen legal protections for immigrant victims of crimes.

Read more

Illinois Dems Target Carried Interest Loophole

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Legislation addressing the so-called “carried interest loophole” is gaining momentum in Illinois after the release of data finding the measure would generate $473 million for the cash-starved state.

Grassroots Collaborative, a coalition of labor unions and human service organizations, April 19 touted passage of a new privilege tax on private equity firms, hedge funds and other financial organizations with the release of “ Illinois Billionaires and Their Lucrative Loophole.” The report, released in conjunction with Hedge Clippers, a similar coalition, blasts a small group of wealthy investment managers for failing to pay their fair share of state taxes. The report calls on the Illinois General Assembly to close the loophole and fund state programs hampered by a budget crisis that has dragged on for almost two years.

“Illinois’s private equity and hedge funds are conservatively estimated to be earning $4.8 billion per year in under-taxed carried interest,” the report concludes. “A state bill to recapture this revenue at the ordinary income level has strong sponsorship in both houses of the state legislature, and it would raise at least $473 million each year for schools, health care and essential public services in Illinois.”

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Rauner Donors Get Visit From Upset Residents on Tax Evasion Trolley Tour

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Community Groups Demand Hedge Fund Managers Profiting From Carried Interest Loophole Pay Fair Share to Help Solve State Budget Crisis

 

Chicago, IL – On Thursday, community residents being impacted by the school funding crisis and state budget impasse took part in a Tax Evasion Trolley Tour to the homes of Hedge Fund political donors who have profited off of the carried interest loophole at the expense of schools and vital social services.   

The first stop on the trolley tour was the $20 million dollar home of Donald Wilson, founder of DRW Trading Group. Wilson has personally benefited from the carried interest loophole and made significant political contributions to both Governor Rauner and Chicago Mayor Emanuel. Participants were joined by Representative Welch (D-Hillside), lead sponsor of HB 3393, a bill that would generate close to a half billion dollars by placing a privilege tax on people like Wilson.

Joining with community members, Representative Welch hand-delivered a large overdue tax bill to Wilson’s front door.

“It’s okay to own a nice home, everyone dreams of being successful and living a good life. But to those who much is given, much is required. What we are saying is if you have the privilege to live in a $20 million dollar house you should pay your fair share in taxes and that means closing the carried interest loophole,” stated Representative Welch to the energetic crowd.   

Alejandro Sanchez, Safe Passage program coordinator with the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council added, “In our community, shootings have increased by 300% between 2013 and 2016. I have a question for Don Wilson and others like him who are profiting off of this loophole. Do you think that skimping on your tax bill is worth students in Brighton Park losing their after-school programs and guidance counselors, or domestic violence centers being closed, or more young people dead because of massive disinvestment in anti-violence programs?”

Participants left sidewalk messages outside Wilson’s home, citing the devastation caused by the state’s lack of sufficient revenue. In addition to visiting Donald Wilson, the Tax Evasion Trolley Tour went to the homes of Sam Zell, Ken Griffin, and Dmitry Balyasny, all deep-pocketed political donors who have capitalized on a rigged tax system resulting in the current school and state funding crisis.

“The impacts on our communities are real – increasing violence, students forced to stop their college educations, seniors going without home care and needed programs like meals on meals, immigrant families losing programs that assist them, and the prospect of our schools being closed 3 weeks early, due to lack of revenue. We organized this tour because these impacts feel real to us, but standing here in front of multi-million dollar mansions, it’s hard to imagine they feel real to these Hedge Fund managers. We want them to know that the money they are getting from the carried interest loophole isn’t being pulled from thin air – it is coming from our community programs and schools,” explained Abbie Illenberger, Field Director of Grassroots Collaborative.

Grassroots Collaborative expects HB 3393 to be voted on in the Illinois House next week.

Photos from the Tax Evasion Trolley Tour can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ac8iwhjl3y50a2f/AABXPqa9Nd1lNJyrmysLIzMha?dl=0

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