Voices for Illinois Children’s Policy Action Center highlights urgent priorities that require swift action to strengthen, protect, or implement policies that benefit children and families. Bookmark this page and check it often to see where immediate collective action is needed most.
- Tell lawmakers: Maintain stable, sustainable revenue for kids and families.
Did you know that on January 1, 2015, Illinois will experience a revenue collapse that will likely result in a budget shortfall of at least $2 billion this coming fiscal year?
A budget shortfall of $2 billion means instability for our kids, families, and communities.
It means our state’s backlog of bills will continue to grow—a move that will lead to further downgrades to Illinois’ credit rating.
Too many youth lack access to afterschool and other services as it is. Lost revenue could mean eliminating afterschool programming for another 18,000 teens, a drastic reduction in education funding, and closing of 32,849 childcare providers. Lost revenue will impact all program areas, hurting all types of families and communities throughout the state.
Lawmakers have two choices: They can make at least $2 billion in cuts to education, human services, public safety, and other essential services—cuts that our families and communities cannot afford, or they can avoid the cuts and get Illinois back on the right track by maintaining stable and sustainable revenue to educate our children, fund essential services, and pay our bills.
- EITC Works! Lifting local families, Boosting local economies
The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, lets low-and-moderate income working families keep more of their earnings to help pay for things that keep them working, like child care and transportation. The EITC also reduces the number of children living in poverty and improves kids’ chances of success as adults. By helping low-wage workers keep more of their incomes, the EITC increases consumer spending, which then boosts local economies across Illinois.
Lawmakers can lift working families and boost local economies by doubling the EITC in Illinois. Click here to let your lawmaker know the time is now!
The vast majority of Americans view early childhood education as an important national priority. And 63 percent of the voters surveyed want Congress to take action now on a proposal that provides grants to states to provide high-quality preschool to all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds. Urge your Congressional representative to support this important proposal. Learn more about the proposal and the steps you can take — today.
- Use our online letter to urge your U.S. Senators to vote for the Marketplace Fairness Act and collect taxes that are already owed our state. These funds would help invest in K-12 education, preschool, child care, health care, and other critical services that create stronger children, families and communities.
- Help us move our legislative priorities for Spring 2013! Review our priorities and contact your legislators today. Make sure you’re signed up for our e-alerts so you know when your involvement is most urgently needed to help kids and families thrive.
- April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and you can affirm you commitment to keeping all kids safe by taking the Governor’s Pledge to End Child Abuse and Neglect today.
- The Illinois State Senate faces an important choice. Illinois has a unique opportunity to offer health insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents, and Senate Bill 26 will close the Medicaid coverage gap. Email your state senator TODAY using our online letter template.
Veto session ended with significant legislation awaiting action in early January when the General Assembly returns for a seven-day “lame duck” session. Read our alert to learn about priorities that must be addressed to protect and improve the lives of kids and their families.
Illinois has taken a major step towards fully implementing the federal Affordable Care Act with the introduction of HB 6253, a bill which would increase health insurance coverage to low-income adults. Voices, along with more than 30 other groups, supports this landmark effort to improve the health of Illinoisans. Contact your state legislators and urge them to pass HB 6253 to fully implement the Affordable Care Act when they return in January. This fact sheet and these talking points can help shape your conversation, letter, or email.
- In the 13 days of session between Nov. 27, 2012 and Jan. 8, 2013, the General Assembly is likely to consider numerous issues of critical importance to Illinois children and families, including Medicaid expansion. Voices encourages you to support Medicaid expansion, which will offer health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults under age 65. Read our action alert to learn about other items under consideration and what you can do to help.
- Elections are a crucial time for taking stock of how we are treating our children and give us the opportunity to adjust course to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. Our 2012 Election Advocacy Toolkit is packed with essential information to inform discussions with state legislative and Congressional candidates and host events that raise candidate and public awareness.
- The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has scheduled a series of public hearings on its budget for FY 2014, and they need to hear from people like you about the damaging impact of budget cuts and the need to reinvest in children. Read our alert to learn more and take action.
- Increase awareness of the urgent need to alleviate child poverty in Illinois. Share the infographic on this page with family, friends, and listserves. You can also “like” and “share” our Facebook post and re-tweet our infographic on Twitter. Take action for the 660,000 Illinois children living in poverty — today.
- The Voices network is encouraging a national commitment to raising children’s issues to the attention and prominence they deserve in the 2012 elections. Sign this pledge today. Share it with friends, neighbors, and elected officials to show your support of candidates who prioritize kids in their policy decisions.
- Contact your legislators regularly about urgent children’s issues. Our user-friendly reference guide, How to Contact Your State Legislators, will help you identify your legislators and understand the best ways to communicate with them.
- Join the Responsible Budget Coalition, a powerful statewide campaign committed to building support for solving Illinois’ budget crisis.