Legislators and Grassroots Leaders Release the People’s Agenda, A People-Focused Alternative to Turnaround Agenda

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On the eve of Rauner’s Budget Address, Groups Lays Out New Vision to Put People Back on the Agenda in Illinois State Government

The People’s Agenda can be found at: http://thegrassrootscollaborative.org/sites/default/files/ThePeoplesAgenda.pdf

Springfield, IL – On Tuesday, February 16, grassroots leaders joined with legislators to release the People’s Agenda, a new report laying out a plan for the prosperity of Illinois families of all incomes.  

Counter to the narrative coming out of the Governor’s office, the People’s Agenda points out that the state of Illinois is not spending too much, but rather is spending too little. Illinois has the 5th largest economy in the country and is the 13th wealthiest state, yet ranks 47th in spending on K-12 education, higher education, healthcare, public safety, and human services.  

“Right now, families are hurting all across Illinois,” stated Amisha Patel, Executive Director of the Grassroots Collaborative. “For over a decade, the state of Illinois has been disinvesting from the vital public services needed to provide the opportunity to low and middle-income families, create jobs, and bolster the Illinois economy.”

Present-time funding needs describing in the People’s Agenda would support $323 million of additional economic activity in other parts of the Illinois economy.  If the more visionary investments described in the People’s Agenda were enacted, these investments would support $4.2 billion in additional economic activity in other parts of the Illinois economy.

In order to bring Illinois in line with other Midwest states, the People’s Agenda calls for generating new state revenue from those most able to afford it. The People’s Agenda revenue package includes closing corporate loopholes, passing a graduated income tax, millionaire tax, and a financial transaction tax. Together, these revenue proposals would generate billions of dollars for the state of Illinois. The report goes on to give concrete examples of how this new revenue could be spent, such as providing universal Pre-K childcare assistance, reducing violence, and ending homelessness in the state of Illinois.

Participants outlined how reinvesting in public services would grow the economy and improve lives.

“I was homeless and if it hadn’t been for a group home and my family I would be dead. Due to being placed in the health system, I was able to get sober and stay that way. Because of the assistance I received, I have a healthy, happy and productive life. I got married last year and have now been sober for 8 years,” said Stefano Medansky, a leader with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.  Cuts to vital services like homeless prevention puts thousands of lives in danger.

The People’s Agenda Reform Package:

  • Modernize the Tax Structure
  • Invest in Communities and Create Jobs
  • Reform Bank and Financial Industry Policies – End Predatory Financial Deals
  • Create an Adequate and Equitable Funding Structure for Education
  • End protections and preferential treatment of corporations and Wall St. over working families
  • Provide for the real needs of our population in education and human services

The People’s Agenda is available for download at: http://thegrassrootscollaborative.org/sites/default/files/ThePeoplesAgenda.pdf

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