I am a single mother, certified nursing aid and upcoming Spring 2021 Governors State Social Work graduate.

I am writing this letter to express concern now that the Fair Tax has been dismissed by Illinois voters. We cannot afford the “flat budget” Gov. JB Pritzker has proposed, nor can we use the short-term solution of federal aid to kick the can down the road on long-term fixes for our state budget. A community labor coalition, Raise Up IL, along with legislative allies, has introduced a package of eight progressive revenue bills that would raise over $1 billion in revenue by ending tax breaks for large corporations and high-wealth individuals.

These solutions should be the first on the table. As a mother who relies on a federally funded housing program and a student who has depended on financial aid to obtain a degree, it is distressing to learn of the constant threat of funding cuts that would further jeopardize the lives of the already impoverished people in Illinois.

In 2018, The Chicago Reporter announced in an article that over 160,000 eligible low-income students were denied the Illinois Map Grant in 2017. This is a grant intended to help people like me who otherwise would not have a chance for a higher education. Also, cuts in funding that affect state housing programs may displace many families in the years to come is an issue close to heart that I intend to oppose even after I am no longer personally affected.

We need real leadership from Springfield in this moment of crisis, and I encourage them to pass the Raise Up IL platform, and encourage readers to call your representative and ask them to do the same.

Marva Caldwell

University Park