Illinois Has A Budget

On Thursday, the Illinois House of Representatives took a crucial vote to override Governor Rauner’s veto of a vital package of bills that constitute a bipartisan, balanced budget agreement for the State of Illinois. I am proud that today the Illinois House was able to finally come to a compromise where both Republicans and Democrats stood firmly together to end Governor Rauner’s impasse.

Our balanced budget plan is a compromise that cuts state spending by almost $3 billion, includes pension reforms and eliminates layers of bureaucracy. This plan creates these savings while providing greater funding for local schools, funds our state university system, ensures that our elderly, disabled, and most vulnerable can receive services and support they need.

Effective July 1, the budget passed today restores a portion of the income tax rate in effect from 2011-2015, for individuals, the income tax rate will go from 3.75% to 4.95% and from 5.25% to 7% for corporations. It contains spending cuts of $3 billion in several areas and will close numerous corporate loopholes, generating more revenue for the state. The budget will increase funding for K-12 education over FY17 levels by approximately $700M, relying on a more equitable school funding formula that benefits low-income school districts.

It’s important to compare the Illinois tax rate to our neighboring states. Even with the increase, our average income tax rate will be less than Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio and will put us in the middle of the pack nationwide. The current tax rate is the same as it was in 1989, even though costs have dramatically increased since then. Additionally, unlike the majority of states, Illinois does not tax retirement income or services. We are one of the few states which still has an antiquated flat tax.

Cuts alone won't do it. After the State expends on hard costs, i.e. bond payments, pensions; the majority of discretionary state spending goes to health care, social services, education, and public safety.

As far as bringing jobs and real economic investment to Illinois, checking a list of "political wins" won't put Illinois back on track financially. Businesses large and small consistently say that stability and predictability will keep them creating and retaining jobs in Illinois. Passing a balanced budget will finally bring that much-needed stability to Illinois after two long years.

While Governor Rauner has taken the easy road of rejecting solutions but not proposing any, members of the legislature made sacrifices and negotiated a bipartisan, balanced budget plan that will ensure that this state will not continue down the path to absolute financial ruin. If we had not completed the veto override, there would have been catastrophic consequences for Illinois families. Our state would have been downgraded to junk bond status, schools wouldn’t have been able to open in the fall, and at least 25,000 Illinois workers would have been out of a job.

Although there is still work to be done, this budget override was a huge step in the right direction for the state of Illinois.

Tax Talk

On April 3rd Representative Ammons hosted two tax talk events with Ralph Martire from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Issues covered during the event were the ineffectiveness of the proposed budget by Governor Rauner and the four core areas which took the most cuts in the past fiscal year; public safety, healthcare, public services, and education. Martire debunked myths about fixing the budget solely through cuts and emphasized the necessity to balance the budget through tax increases and bureaucratic adjustments. Martire explained the inefficacy of the pension fund plan and how much of the deficit it is contributing; taking from K-12 and higher education. 

For further information check out the powerpoints from the event here. 

Intern with State Representative Carol Ammons!

Representative Ammons is in her second term as a state legislator. She took office in January of 2015, following two hard-fought victories in which she and her team demonstrated their activism, hard-work, and progressive values. Representative Ammons is now putting these principles into effect at the Capitol. Please take advantage of this opportunity to be part of a group that values community engagement and participation and utilizes grassroots relationships for political change.

The office is close to the U of I campus. A time commitment of 10 hours per week is needed.  All majors are eligible to apply and we have a strong interest in students from the following majors: Political Science, Communication, Community Health, Education, New Media, Urban Planning, Marketing, Economics, Public Policy & Law, African American Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, Journalism, and Gender & Women’s Studies.

How To Apply For An Internship

Email a resume and essay to jasmine@staterepcarolammons.com.  In no more than 250 words combined, answer the following:

  • Tell us about an impactful political, volunteer, or employment experience.

  • Why do you want to intern for Representative Ammons specifically?

Deadline is rolling but preference goes to applications received first.  Your major will not disqualify you in any way from the application process.

SUMMER 2017 INTERNSHIP POSITION: Legislative Aide

Responsibilities include:

  • responding to constituent correspondence

  • researching solutions to constituent issues

  • collaborating with the Constituent Services Director to plan educational workshops for constituents

  • develop content for Facebook, Twitter, and website

  • write and format newsletters

  • develop, plan, and execute issue-based social media campaigns

  • researching legislation

  • engaging in correspondence with constituents

  • represent the office at various events and community meetings

Requirements of the position:

  • experience working with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and basic website platforms

  • strong writing and editing skills

  • experienced in researching issues quickly but accurately

  • ability to work with people of all ages and backgrounds

  • strong interest or background in research

  • ability to work well independently and ask questions when necessary

  • ability to facilitate open discussion and encourage a variety of viewpoints

  • strong writing and communication skills

  • ability to serve the public in a friendly manner strong writing and editing skills

FALL 2017 INTERNSHIP POSITIONS:

Community Advisory Panel Legislative Aide

Rep. Ammons’ advisory panels meet weekly to discuss proposed legislation and advise Rep. Ammons on the community and statewide effects of these bills. The aide is responsible for organizing and facilitating meetings and providing research on pending legislation.  The types of panels are Business, Trade, and Labor, Education, Environment and Energy, Government and Taxes, Health and Human Services, Judicial and Criminal Reform, and Transportation and Utilities.

Responsibilities include:

  • researching bills for the panel discussion

  • facilitating panel meetings

  • taking thorough notes of at the meeting

  • engaging in frequent correspondence with panel members regarding upcoming meetings

  • writing a weekly memo for Rep Ammons detailing panel discussion and opinions of bills

  • one night of weeknight availability (at least an hour and a half) is a requirement, as that is when the panel meetings take place

  • attending related community meetings

Requirements of the position:

  • 10-12 hours per week

    • 30 minutes bi-weekly for individual supervision meeting

    • 1 hour for weekly community advisory panel meeting

    • 1 hour for weekly meeting with all other interns

    • 1 hour for weekly meeting with other legislative aides

    • 2 hours attending community meetings (equivalent to attending and documenting 1 meeting)

    • 5 hours researching bills, writing memos and agendas (50% completed in the office)

  • ability to work with people of all ages and backgrounds

  • strong interest or background in research

  • ability to work well independently and ask questions when necessary

  • ability to facilitate open discussion and encourage a variety of viewpoints

  • strong writing and communication skills

Communications Coordinator

This positions is responsible for developing and directing all aspects of the social media campaign for the office of State Representative Carol Ammons and managing the Communications Team.

The Communication Coordinator will be supervising the Communications and Media Aides, whose internship responsibilities include: develop content for Facebook, Twitter, and website, write and format newsletters, develop, plan, and execute issue-based social media campaigns, and research other politician’s social media, websites, and newsletters for effective communication strategies.

Responsibilities include:

  • Develop and build the branding of the Office of State Representative

  • Train, supervise, and direct 3+ Communications Interns

  • Develop a social media style guide for the office

  • Facilitate weekly meetings of Communications Team

Requirements of the position:

  • Management ability

  • 10-12 hours per week

  • experience working with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and basic website platforms

  • strong writing and editing skills

  • Knowledge and understanding of using social media as a marketing tool

  • Ability to train and educate others

Communications and Media Aide

This position will focus on growing Representative Ammons’ online presence and engagement through social media platforms, website content, email newsletters and updates.  

Responsibilities include:

  • develop content for Facebook, Twitter, and website

  • write and format newsletters

  • develop, plan, and execute issue-based social media campaigns

  • research other politician’s social media, websites, and newsletters for effective communication strategies

  • attending related community meetings

Requirements of the position:

  • 10-12 hours per week

    • 30 minutes bi-weekly for individual supervision meeting

    • 1 hour for weekly meeting with social media team

    • 1 hour for weekly meeting with all other interns

    • 2 hours attending community meetings (equivalent to attending and documenting 1 meeting)

    • 6 hours on various social media tasks (75% complete in the office)

  • experience working with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and basic website platforms

  • strong writing and editing skills

  • experienced in researching issues quickly but accurately

  • knowledgeable in correct citation of secondary sources

Constituent Services Aide

This position works closely with the full-time Constituent Services Director. The Constituent Services Aide interacts with constituents to answer questions, assist with issues, and provide general assistance to community members.

Responsibilities include:

  • responding to constituent correspondence

  • researching solutions to constituent issues

  • collaborating with the Constituent Services Director to plan educational workshops for constituents

  • attending related community meetings

Requirements of the position:

  • 10 hours per week

    • 30 minutes bi-weekly for individual supervision meeting

    • 1 hour for team meeting

    • 2 hours attending community meetings (equivalent to attending and documenting 1 meeting)

    • 6 hours of constituent services tasks (100% completed in the office)

  • ability to serve the public in a friendly manner strong writing and editing skills

CourtWatch Archiving Intern

CourtWatch is a volunteer-staffed program that aims to support defendants and their families by attending court hearings and attorney conferences. The goal of CourtWatch is to monitor the court’s due process and educate ourselves, defendants, and the community about the legal process in Champaign County. The Archiving Aide for CourtWatch will assist in collecting, organizing, and editing notes from court watching and compile and refine into complete case reports for CourtWatch to disseminate as seen fit.

Responsibilities include:

  • Collect notes of all forms from CourtWatch members

  • Transfer handwritten notes into typed, case-specific reports that document the case in a logical structure

  • Check local newspaper for articles related to defendants and file them with the corresponding case

  • Tag completed case reports with identifiers determined by CourtWatch Steering Committee

    • Will need to recommend identifiers and tagging structure to Steering Committee for feedback

Requirements of the position:

  • 12-15 hours per week

    • Includes a 30-minute weekly supervision meeting with CourtWatch Steering Committee

  • strong writing and communication skills

  • highly organized and detail oriented

  • strong interest or background in research

  • ability to work well independently and ask questions when necessary

  • ability to travel within the Champaign-Urbana community (car not necessary)

HEARING IN HOUSE TO MOVE RESPONSIBLE JOB CREATION ACT

Please voice your support for HB 690, temporary and day laborer protections, to the House Labor & Commerce Committee by completing a witness slip:

  1. Click here to start your witness slip.
  2. Under the “Representation” section, please fill in your name or the name of an organization you’re affiliated with.
  3. Select “Proponent” to support HB 690.
  4. Under “Testimony”, please select “Record of Appearance Only.”
  5. Click on the "Create" button in the bottom right corner, and you're done!

Illinois workers and researchers to testify before the Labor Committee for passage of HB 690

What: Labor & Commerce Committee Hearing – Illinois workers and researchers will testify at a hearing before the House Labor & Commerce Committee in support of passing the Responsible Job Creation Act (HB690) to better protect Illinois’ temp workers from abuse and ensure the return of good, permanent jobs and healthy economic growth in the state.

Who: State Representative Carol Ammons, (D-103); Brittany Scott, Senior Research Strategist with NESRI; Dr. Linda Forst, Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at UIC; temp worker leaders with Chicago Workers’ Collaborative and Warehouse Workers for Justice

When: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 at 02:00PM CT

Where: Capitol Building | Room 114 - 1233 S 2nd St, Springfield, IL 62704 or watch live at: https://www.facebook.com/RaisetheFloorAlliance/

Background: Corporations in the State of Illinois have increasingly used temporary labor to permanently staff their day-to-day operations. Conditions under this arrangement are insufferable in most factories and warehouses where retaliation, poor wages, hazardous working conditions, racial and gender discrimination, and other injustices are rampant. According to the American Staffing Association, there are over 800,000 temp workers in the State of Illinois.

The Responsible Job Creation Act (HB 690), sponsored by State Representative Carol Ammons (D-103), aims to close the enforcement gap in these unregulated workplaces, protect the lives of the state’s most vulnerable workers, and support the creation of stable, permanent, living-wage jobs.

Once passed, the bill will offer improved protections to workers employed through temp agencies including an equal wage to their direct hire counterparts, stronger retaliation prevention measures, an end to racialized and gender discrimination, an end to gender violence, increase transparency in hiring practices, and much more.   

Available for interviews: Rep. Carol Ammons, State Representative of the 103rd District, Brittany Scott with NESRI, Dr. Linda Forst with UIC, and worker leaders with Chicago Workers’ Collaborative and Warehouse Workers for Justice.

WWW.RESPONSIBLEJOBS.ORG

Partners: Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, Illinois AFL-CIO, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative, Raise the Floor Alliance, Warehouse Workers for Justice

Endorsers: Coalition of Labor Union Women, Illinois-National Organization for Women, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Latino Policy Forum, Local 881 UFCW, National Employment Law Project, Progress Center for Independent Living, Rainbow Push Coalition, Women Employed

University of Illinois 150th Anniversary Celebration

On February 28th, 2017 State Representative Carol Ammons was hosted by the University of Illinois Alumni Association to celebrate the University's 150th anniversary. Check out the video here. Representative Ammons touched upon important topics such as her role in representing the interests of students and the role students have in staying engaged in politics. Additionally, because of the timing of the speech she brought in Black History Month and the very blatant disparities in education within minority communities. As a representative from Illinois she expanded on how she hopes to represent all students and especially underrepresented communities.