The new Illinois Kids Count 2014 report, “Child Health Matters,” documents some positive trends for children’s health in our state—fewer children without health insurance, declining infant mortality rates, fewer young children with lead poisoning, and fewer teen deaths from accidents, homicide, or suicide. However, the data also show disturbing disparities related to household income level, race and ethnicity, special health care needs, and other factors.
Illinois’ tax system is upside down. When adding up the effect of all state and local taxes, Illinois asks middle- and low-income households to pay a percentage of their income that is two to three times higher than the highest-income households pay. An improved income tax is key to fixing our tax system so that we all pay our fair share to make sure Illinois has the money it needs for public resources we all value—including quality education, roads and bridges, and safe communities.
On January 1, 2015, Illinois will experience a revenue collapse that will result in a budget shortfall of at least $2.3 billion, and up to $3 billion this coming fiscal year. Lawmakers have a choice. They can enact at least $2.3 billion in cuts to education, human services, public safety, and other essential services–cuts our kids and families can’t afford–or get Illinois back on the right track by maintaining stable and sustainable revenue to educate our children, fund essential services and pay our bills.