“Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free. There may be such other free education as the General Assembly provides by law. The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.” (Illinois Constitution, Article X Section 1)
Public education is a cornerstone of democracy and economic opportunity, which is why we need a budget that invests in quality education, from pre-k through college, for all Illinoisans. Daniel supports legislation that would expand access to public education for pre-k children. The current approach to school funding continues to fail our students and teachers by tying budgets directly to property taxes. This has created one of the nations worst funding systems at the expense of working class families. Low-income districts in our state disproportionately experience the effects of this system.
Daniel is committed to reforming our education system by supporting schools through alternative revenue sources. By working with state legislators and voters to implement a statewide progressive income tax, we can create a more equitable system that guarantees quality education for all Illinoisans.
While the Affordable Care Act marks an important step forward in the ongoing fight for universal healthcare, there are still improvements that need to be made at the state level. Tens of thousands of people are excluded from affordable care every year because our elected officials and insurance companies are content with the status quo. We have a system in this state where too often families have to choose between paying for food and rent or paying medical expenses.
Daniel supports a single-payer system that would guarantee medicare for all. Under a universal, single-payer healthcare system, the administrative waste of private insurance companies would be redirected to patient care. By shifting to a system of universal coverage and a single payer plan, the savings in administrative costs would help to offset the cost of additional care.
Passing legislation to improve healthcare in our state requires us to address the tax code and budgetary mess created by Governor Rauner and Madigan-Democrats in the General Assembly. By working with both Democrats and Republicans to create a fair progressive income tax and close corporate tax loopholes, we can generate the revenue required to fix our broken healthcare system and provide the kind of coverage working families deserve.
The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition places a considerable financial burden on taxpayers, obstructs research into its medical uses, and disproportionately targets communities of color. Rather than continuing down a path of failed policies, Daniel supports legislation that will fully legalize cannabis in the state. The overwhelming majority of Cook County voters recently approved a non-binding referendum to make recreational cannabis legal. It is past time that legislators in our state catch up with the growing research and public support of legalization.
Moving Illinois from a cannabis prohibition state to a tax-and-regulate state is the sensible, just, and reasonable path forward. By taxing and regulating, producers can be held accountable for the quality and consistency of the product in a way that is not currently possible. In addition, the projected revenue estimates from an excise tax are between $350 million and $700 million a year. While this would not solve our deficit issue, we should welcome additional revenue where it makes sense.
Our current tax system overwhelmingly works to the benefit of the wealthy at the expense of middle and working class families. As a result of the bipartisan conflict between Gov. Rauner and Madigan-Democrats, Illinois continues to operate under an inequitable and broken tax system. Any increase to our budgetary expenses requires that we look seriously at the ways in which the state currently generates revenue.
We need a plan for progressive tax reforms that will sufficiently fund education and social services. Daniel supports legislation that would produce revenue on two fronts: (1) a fair progressive income tax, (2) a LaSalle Street Tax on financial transactions.
A fair progressive income tax would adjust the burden placed on working families and move our state forward in the direction of financial stability. Illinois is one of the most prosperous states in the country with one of the most regressive income tax systems. The well-off and well-connected have flourished under the constitutionally mandated flat tax in which a school nurse making $45,000 a year pays the same rate as a CEO making $45 million a year.
Daniel is committed to working with Republican, Democrat, and independent legislators to enact a progressive income tax like many states in the nation all ready have. The work required to do this will take considerable effort from progressive leaders across the state. The cost of not addressing Illinois' unjust flat tax is too great to ignore.
A LaSalle Street Tax on transactions made through the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange would require that investors pay a fair tax on the billions of dollars they make every year in Illinois. The current system allows wealthy investors to profit off of our state infrastructure while not paying a cent on their transactions. Each year billions of dollars in potential tax revenue are diverted away from education and social services to bank accounts of wealthy investors. To correct this system, Daniel supports a $1-$2 tax on all financial transactions made through Illinois' two largest markets located in the LaSalle street financial market.
ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The crises of global climate change requires that our federal and state governments commit public resources to (1) developing renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar energy, (2) improving our conservation and efficient use of energy in homes and businesses, and (3) promoting sustainable transportation practices, such as high-speed rail, other efficient public transportation and sensible urban planning.
Illinois can be a national leader in the fight for clean energy by generating legislation consistent with President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
In order to minimize the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the risks posed by global climate change, Illinois should adopt policies with the aim of achieving zero non-natural CO2 emissions (and near-zero emissions of other greenhouse gases) by the year 2050.