SPRINGFIELD, Ill – Ending his first legislative session, state Rep. Nicholas Smith, D-Chicago, has worked and prioritized his efforts to strengthen the economy by lifting up the working and middle-class families throughout Illinois, while increasing access to higher education. Smith also supported the bipartisan, balanced budget that cuts government waste while protecting essential services that went unfunded for two years during Gov. Rauner’s budget crisis.
“Protecting the wages of hard-working families throughout Illinois must be a number one priority,” Smith said. “Every day I am in Springfield, I am fighting for real reforms and working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that strengthens the economy. With one of the most regressive tax structures in the United States, Illinois’ hard-working families are forced to pay more in taxes. By requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, cutting burdensome fees on small businesses and providing tax credits for employers that create new jobs, we can lift up the middle class and ensure that working families throughout Illinois will be able to keep more of what they earn.”
Smith is a co-sponsor and strong supporter of House Resolution 1025, which calls on Illinois’ elected officials to modernize its taxing system by implementing a progressive income tax, also known as a graduated income tax. This change in the tax structure would ultimately mean that the more an individual makes, the more they pay, which would result in a tax break for middle-class families across Illinois. Smith is committed to putting Illinois’ middle class first, starting with providing tax relief for the working families throughout the state.
“I am also fighting to improve access to higher education throughout our state, while making sure our schools are funded based off of need in order to prevent school closures,” Smith said. “We must do everything possible so that our students are not forced to seek an education outside of Illinois.”
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Illinois likely lost more than 150,000 students, on net, to other states from 2000 to 2014. Smith recognizes that this is a huge problem for the future of Illinois and its students. As a member of the House Higher Education Committee, Smith has helped pass legislation to improve the current climate of higher education in Illinois. Smith supported and passed House Bill 5696. This legislation creates the Established Bridge program for higher education institutions, which provides resources such as counseling, tutoring and skill development to assist students who are underrepresented due to economic or cultural deprivation.
“Both the House and Senate were able to come together and work in a bipartisan manner to ensure the budget cuts wasteful bureaucracy, while reversing service cuts and invest our finite resources in critical services for our community, including the Community Care Program, affordable child care, domestic violence shelters, breast cancer screenings, and $350 million in new funding for schools,” Smith said. “While there is still more work to be done, I remain committed to doing what’s best for the people of my district. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance the necessary legislation to put the working, middle-class families throughout Illinois first.”