Property tax relief is desperately needed in the Southland region. Illinois relies too heavily on property taxes to fund local governments. We need an alternative source of revenue. A graduated income tax system would provide the necessary funding for local governments and give Illinois residents much-needed property tax relief. I am committed to our region and will fight to improve the lives of working families. I will work to reform Illinois’ flat rate tax system because it is unfair to lower- and middle-income families while favoring millionaires and billionaires. We can move Illinois away from long-standing over-reliance on property taxes to fund public schools and local services by instituting a progressive income tax: people with higher incomes would pay a higher income tax rate, allowing homeowners to pay lower property taxes, while our children get the resources and education they need to succeed.
We must invest in our youth. Illinois has a funding crisis facing K-12 education. Funding based on local property taxes in many rural, urban and suburban areas is inadequate. Illinois must further reform its funding method. Educational funding should be based on a graduated income tax. Illinois needs a highly skilled workforce with requisite training for 21st Century jobs.
We need to eliminate this root cause of poverty. Income inequality keeps many urban, suburban and rural families in poverty. When our minimum wage does not provide a living wage, we create structural barriers to economic and social mobility! Government can effectively boost economic and social mobility by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and increase thereafter to account for inflation.
My priority will be bringing state resources to the Southland region of the Chicago metropolitan area. The Southland region has a population of 441,000 but only about 130,000 jobs in the region; 74 percent of Southland residents work outside the area. We have an overall poverty rate of 19 percent, more than the average poverty rate across the Chicago region. I will work to advance the issues of resource allocation and equity for the Southland to address mass transit and transportation inequities, education funding reform, property tax relief and reform, and a lack of coordinated economic development.