Tag Archives: Budget and Tax Justice

The Fair Tax: Illinois Cannot Get “Out” Without It

The “Fair Tax”—an income tax system under which people with higher incomes pay a higher tax rate and people with lower incomes pay a lower tax rate—is smart tax policy.  This is the way that the federal personal income tax …

Gov. Rauner Is Dismantling Programs That Fight Racial Disparities in Education

A good education is essential to ensuring that a person can reach his or her full potential. But in Illinois, as in the rest of the United States, educational opportunities are profoundly unequal across racial lines. This failure to ensure robust educa…

A Tale of Two Budgets: Government Investments Are Essential to Fight Poverty

It is abundantly clear that government plays an important role in ensuring the quality of life and chances for upward mobility for people in poverty. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., understood that when he launched his multiracial effort for economic justice, “The Poor People’s Campaign.” President Lyndon B. Johnson spearheaded a successful federal commitment to fighting poverty through the Great Society and the “War on Poverty.”

That role of government in fighting poverty and ensuring opportunity is heavily dependent on public budgets, those “profoundly moral documents that detail the investments we choose to make in education, training, programs that support and enable work, retirement security, youth engagement, services for people with disabilities, and enforcement of guarantees of civil rights and equal opportunity.

White House and Illinois State CapitolToday, budget processes at the state and federal level illustrate two drastically different approaches to the public budget’s role in tackling poverty.

President Obama’s proposed 2017 budget is rich with recognition of the need to address deep poverty and racial inequities and with proposals to implement solutions.

Here in Illinois, there is not only no professed intent to use the budget to address poverty, but there is no budget at all, and the lack of a state budget has eroded or completely blocked the state’s programs to address poverty and create opportunity. Most recently, the Rauner Administration has announced its intention to veto emergency funding for student aid that enables low-income, mostly minority students to be in college—a universally acknowledged way for hard-working people to be upwardly mobile and join the educated workforce that employers all say they need.

While it is good that the Governor, in his budget speech, proposed new investment in early childhood and K-12 education, this means little without revenue to support it and all the critical services that support and provide opportunity for children, their families, and communities. That is, it means little without a fully funded state budget.

As Dr. King’s economic crusade asserted, public budgets are a major part of the work to fight poverty and ensure equal opportunity. President Obama seeks a budget that recognizes that role and takes up the challenge. Governor Rauner’s current position holds the budget hostage to his non-budget policy agenda. It not only fails to recognize poverty and racial equity as a priority in the state budget, but affirmatively undermines or outright blocks the policies and programs that Illinois had in place in prior budgets to address those concerns.

Trevor Brown contributed to this blog post. 

Governor Rauner, Stop Ignoring the Real State of Our State

In Illinois, homebound seniors are losing meals. Hardworking low-income college students are being forced to drop out of school. Sexual assault victims and homeless veterans are going without services that are essential for their well-being.
This despe…

Time to End the Illinois Hostage Stand-Off

Illinois’s former Governor Edgar had it right months ago. Edgar characterized current Governor Rauner’s refusal to negotiate a budget until he wins concessions on his ideological policy agenda as “hostage taking.”
Governor Raune…

Illinois Must Continue to Provide Vital Benefits, Regardless of Failure to Pass State Budget

As Illinois’s budget impasse continues, the failure of Governor Rauner and the state legislature to pass a fair, adequate, and fully funded budget is beginning to have an impact. Late last week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a laws…

Politics Aside, Let’s Focus on the Budget

Below is a sample of headlines news outlets have used lately to describe the budget process in Springfield:
“Coming this summer: Rauner versus Democrats”
“Gov. Rauner readies for combat with Madigan and Cullerton”
“Madig…

Illinois’s Business Establishment Agrees: Illinois Must Raise Revenue, Stabilize Spending

The Civic Federation, a venerable pillar of Illinois’s business establishment, has for many decades championed the need for fiscal responsibility, including restraints on state spending and revenues to assure a stable business climate. On Februar…

Bruce Rauner’s Tax Plan

Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for Governor of Illinois, recently released his Jobs and Growth blueprint, which includes his tax plan. Here is a look at his major tax proposals and current stance on the minimum wage.
Income Tax. Rauner wou…

Act Now: Illinois Lawmakers Are Deciding Whether to Maintain the Current 5% Income Tax Rate and Provide Tax Relief to Low-Wage Workers

Maintaining the Current 5% Income Tax Rate.
The Illinois General Assembly is three weeks away from adjourning on May 31 and deeply enmeshed in tax and budget negotiations. The main issue is whether to maintain the current 5% state income tax rate or to…