Ending Mass Incarceration
The idea that people are innocent until proven guilty is a bedrock principle of America’s judicial system, but the widespread practice of requiring people to pay money bond for their freedom while they await trial incarcerates tens of thousands of people who are poor each year before they even get a trial.
More 4,400 people in Cook County Jail at any given time are there because they cannot afford to pay bond. Abolishing money bond in Illinois is a significant step toward reducing mass incarceration in Illinois.
Free Higher Education
The budget crisis Rauner has created has bled dry Illinois’ higher education system, cutting 30% of its budget–in effect, making it no longer public. Students at both private and public universities have been left without MAP Grants, leaving many low-income students unable to continue to afford college.
It’s time to take action not only for reinstatement of the Illinois higher education budget, but for free higher education funded with progressive revenue, so that the education that people need and want can be accessible to all.
No Cuts! Tax the Rich!
In order to maintain low tax rates for corporations and the rich, our elected officials have, for several decades, used revenue that should have been invested in public pensions to cover the costs of Illinois’ most basic obligations. That unsustainable choice has finally reached a crisis point. But Illinois doesn’t have to be broke. Our elected officials could fund a “People and Planet First Budget” for the common good by closing corporate tax loopholes, creating a progressive income tax and enacting the LaSalle St. Tax.
Oil and gas corporations are making huge profits while pushing the very steep health and environmental costs of fossil fuels onto everyday people. People in communities of color and low-income communities are especially vulnerable. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) has created the critical incentive Illinois needs to tackle the twin problems of climate change and inequality. The Clean Jobs Bill currently before the Illinois Legislature meets the challenge of climate change head on.
Our campaign finance system is broken and does not serve everyday Chicagoans. Campaigns for mayor and city council have become too expensive, leaving candidates beholden to a handful wealthy donors and the corporate interests they represent.
The Chicago Fair Elections Ordinance is a small donor match campaign finance program that increases competition among candidates and increases political participation.
The current version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) fails to set legally-binding minimum wage standards for signatory countries. This makes the TPP unacceptable. Without real standards, wages in poor countries will continue to be far below a living wage, and the global race to the bottom will continue.
Congress must refuse to ratify the TPP, or any other trade deals that lack legally-binding minimum wage standards.