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 raise the statewide minimum wage, 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.