Ask anyone who does good work in our community – whether they tutor
kids at a public library, volunteer at a food bank, or run a shelter
for battered women – and they’ll tell you that these are truly tough
times.  More people are in need, but government dollars are
evaporating and private donations are not sufficient to make up for
that loss.  We all desire — and a decent society requires — good
schools for our kids, health care for our seniors, protection of our
streets and homes for all citizens.  But right now, in Illinois, we
can’t count on any of that.

It’s time to face, head-on, the serious problems created by a state
government that can’t meet the needs of its citizens.  We must fix the
mess we’re in, in a fiscally responsible, forward-thinking, and fair
manner.  We need to pass House Bill 174.  I’m a candidate for state
representative in the 18th District, and I’d be fighting for this bill
if I were in office.  But right now I’m speaking as a citizen to urge
support for HB174. The Illinois House of Representatives is in session
this week, and could take A vote on HB174 at any point in the next
couple of days.

HB174 would finally fund public education at the levels the Illinois
Constitution mandates, and quality schools would become possible for
all kids in our state.  This bill would allow the state to meet
obligations to fund pensions for our teachers and firefighters and
police officers. HB174 would mean the continuation of vital social
services, which are now threatened with severe cutbacks or outright
elimination. Public libraries would remain open, prescription drug
programs for seniors would continue, and shelters Would provide food
for the hungry.  To achieve these ends, HB174 would raise the state
income tax from 3% to 5%.  This increase would fall only on those who
can afford it, since the bill also increases the Earned Income Tax
Credit from 5% to 15%, tripling the amount of money those at the
lowest end of the income scale get back. This is a fair, reasonable,
and utterly necessary tax adjustment.

Passing HB174 is the right thing to do.  This is the right time to do
it.  Let your legislators in Springfield know that YOU want them to
support HB174, and you’ll support them if they do.