Two years ago, a small group of women legislators from both chambers and both parties began meeting to see if we could begin working on solutions to Illinois’ impending fiscal challenges. Decades of the state failing to make required pension payments, decreased state revenues from the Great Recession and the expiration of a temporary increase to the state’s income tax all culminated at the same time, creating a perfect storm of financial disaster.

What happened in those meetings, besides the fact that we really got to know each other, was that we developed a pretty good understanding of what was at stake. We talked to everyone we could, interviewed experts and honestly discussed our political differences. While the meetings originally focused on our budget, they moved on to other issues demanding attention, including workers compensation reform, pension reform, property tax relief, school funding reform and term limits for leadership.

While there were undoubtedly aspects of these issues I was totally against, we all knew in our hearts that we had to do something to end the impasse.

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gettyimages 84610792SPRINGFIELD – An estimated 1.5 million Illinois workers would benefit from a plan that passed the Senate today guaranteeing paid sick time for every Illinois worker. The plan, contained in House Bill 2771, is sponsored by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights).

“Every day, too many Illinois workers who are sick are essentially forced to go into work because they cannot afford to stay home and get better,” Hutchinson said. “Healthier workers are good for our families, our communities and our businesses. I’m proud to have worked with advocates over the past two years to guarantee paid sick time to every Illinois worker.”

Hutchinson’s plan, contained in House Bill 2771, would provide up to five paid sick days per year to full-time and part-time employees, accruing an hour at a time for every 40 hours worked.

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05172017CM0586RA balanced budget that would restore funding to Governors State University, Prairie State College, public schools and struggling human service providers passed the Senate this week.

The final package includes a combination of more than $3 billion in cuts, reforms and new revenues that will bring stability to Illinois. 

“The time for ridiculous arguing about minute details is getting in the way of the statesmanship that Illinois so desperately needs right now,” said State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights). “Our citizens need a balanced budget. Our children need it. Our social services need it. This state cannot bear another day of us wasting time.”

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Sen. HutchinsonSPRINGFIELD – A plan that would end Illinois’ two-year budget impasse by bringing in additional state revenues and expanding a key tax credit benefiting working families passed the Senate this afternoon.

“It is completely irresponsible for anyone to let this situation continue another day,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “Every week that goes by without acting, Illinois digs itself into deeper and deeper into a financial hole that will eventually be impossible to dig out of. It’s past time to do something for the good of our state.”

Hutchinson is lead Senate sponsor of Senate Bill 9, which includes slight increases to the personal and corporate income tax, an expansion of Illinois’ sales tax to include certain services, the elimination of three corporate tax loopholes and the creation of a new tax credit for teachers who purchase classroom supplies.  

Senate Bill 9 also doubles the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable tax credit for working families that has been credited with lifting millions above the poverty line since its creation in the 1980s. In addition, the plan lowers LLC filing fees and reinstates the Research and Development Tax Credit, Graphic Arts Exemption and the Manufacturing Purchase Exemption, all of which increases economic activity in the state.

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