February 4, 2014
Contact: Hannah Gelder, 847-219-5062 (m), firstname.lastname@example.org
For immediate release:
Fair Economy Illinois responds to Governor Rauner’s State of the State
Governor Rauner’s State of the State address outlined a platform that attacks the middle class and working families. His agenda fails to raise adequate revenue to invest in the critical programs Illinois needs in order to be a leading state in the Midwest.
“Illinois is in a revenue crisis,” said Brianna Tong, a student leader with the Illinois Indiana Regional Organizing Network, which is a member of Fair Economy Illinois. Governor Rauner said we need a “21st century tax system to reflect a 21st century economy.” A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that between 2009 and 2012, the top 1% saw a 34.5% increase in income, while the bottom 99% has seen only a .2% increase in income. In addition, 97% of the total income gains Illinois saw in this period went to the top 1%. “We must upgrade our tax code by ensuring Big Corporations, LaSalle Street and the 1% pay their fair share. Then we can invest in public education, human services, health care and public safety to ensure Illinois is a truly great state.”
“Spending is not the problem in Illinois,” said Allen Wesolowski of ONE Northside, a member of Fair Economy Illinois. Illinois ranks the lowest in the nation in state employees per capita. According to the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children, many human service programs have already sustained 23% cuts since 2009. “If Governor Rauner wants to ‘empower’ local communities, he and the legislature must boldly push for revenue from big corporations and the 1%. Our communities are under dire threat due to looming state budget cuts. We must take care of our people first, they’re our most valuable resource,” Wesolowski continued.
“Governor Rauner spent most of his speech attacking unions and public sector employees,” said Sonny Garcia, a public sector employee in Bloomington and leader of Illinois People’s Action, a member of Fair Economy Illinois. “Undermining workers’ rights to organize for safe working conditions and a living wage will further hurt Illinois’ middle class families. If we want Illinois to succeed, we must tax Big Corporations and the wealthy and invest in, instead of undermine the middle class.”
In November, Illinois voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum calling on Illinois legislators to raise the minimum wage to $10/hour by January 1, 2015. Today, Governor Rauner suggested raising the minimum wage to $10/hour over the next seven years. This guarantees that hardworking families working for the minimum wage will continue to earn poverty wages. Governor Rauner must work with the legislature to raise the minimum wage this session.
Fair Economy Illinois is a statewide alliance that organizes urban, suburban and rural residents around issues that affect the common good. We organize people and money in order to: 1) limit the power of corporations and private interests in our state; 2) ensure adequate revenue for the State of Illinois to fulfill its primary functions so Illinoisans may lead dignified lives with strong public education, high quality infrastructure, fully funded human services and public safety, and; 3) protect our environment and natural resources from corporate exploitation.
The alliance comprises three organizations: Illinois-Indiana Regional Organizing Network (IIRON), Illinois Peoples’ Action (IPA), and Organizing Neighborhoods for Equality: Northside (ONE Northside).
Hannah Gelder, Senior Organizer
4648 N. Racine
Chicago, IL 60640
Tel: 773-769-3232 x19
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting. Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.