SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, is highlighting her efforts to build a stronger Illinois and a stronger middle class by supporting policies that lower taxes, stabilize state finances, offer better paying jobs and keeping health care affordable during the spring legislative session.
“This year, House Democrats have taken critical steps to strengthen Illinois as well as the middle class,” said Ammons. “While there is more work to be done, Illinois now has a new minimum wage law, the option for a Fair Tax that makes the wealthy to pay their fair share, and new protections for health care for those with pre-existing conditions. And that’s just the beginning of my work.”
Ammons supported progressive reforms that will benefit the middle class and building a stronger Illinois. She supported the $15 per hour minimum wage that will help lift families out of poverty by putting more money into their pockets and generation billions of dollars in new economic activity. This will help Illinois become a high-wage economy, alongside the additional pieces of legislation Ammons supported.
Legislation Ammons passed will expand vocational and career job trainings to job-seekers, helping to make Illinois a high-wage economy and preparing local workers to get ahead.
“Illinois needs to do more to invest in its people so they can stay here and continuing contributing to their local economies and families,” said Ammons. “A high-wage economy will help bolster the middle class, which will also make Illinois much stronger for more business, job and economic growth.”
Building on the momentum to strengthen the middle class, Ammons supported the Fair Tax, which finally makes the wealthy pay their fair share to balance the budget and fund critical services, while cutting taxes for 99% of local families. Ammons also supported the budget plan that responsibly balances and controls Illinois’ finances while maintaining the commitment to vital health services and education funding. Her plan invests $375 million into public schools, commits more than $1 billion to paying old bills, pays pension obligations in full for this year and helps Illinois recover from Bruce Rauner’s four-year wreckage that crippled universities, safety nets and state finances.
“Illinois’ current regressive flat tax has over-burdened middle-class families by forcing them to pay 13% of their income to state and local taxes,” said Ammons. “For the ultra-wealthy, they pay half the amount the middle class does, and that is not only regressive, but outrageous. However, residents will now have the chance to choose a path forward for fairer taxes, stabilized state finances and increased investments toward education, jobs and infrastructure and health care or maintain the failed status quo.”
Ammons also focused on ensuring access to affordable health care – another critical step toward building a stronger economy and a stronger middle class. Ammons voted to cap double-digit premium increases by forcing big insurance companies to submit their rate to the state and justify any cost increase. While Donald Trump and his extreme allies work to strip away vital protections for middle-class families, Ammons supported legislation to halt Trump’s assault on coverage and make Illinois a beacon of health care affordability. She supported Senate Bill 2026 will help maintain pre-existing conditions coverage by preventing the state to apply for waivers that will seek to undermine those protections that many rely on. Ammons also supported legislation that will help lower the cost of prescription drugs.
Ammons supported the Reproductive Health Care Act, Senate Bill 25, which guarantees women’s health care as a fundamental right while also repealing antiquated Illinois law that has not been enforced thanks to Roe v. Wade.
“Donald Trump cannot be allowed to strip away health care from anyone, especially our most vulnerable,” said Ammons. “Pre-existing conditions are a medical necessity that need to be covered. Illinois should be the place of hope for women’s health care as other states work tirelessly to blatantly outlaw abortion and other reproductive services.”
During this session, Ammons also worked to prioritize higher education funding. She chairs the House Higher Education committee and is a member of the House Appropriations – Higher Education Committee where she fought to prioritize funding for colleges and more affordable tuition for potential students. Ammons is working to develop college-level policies that will help those students achieve better results through more rigorous course work. Her Senate Joint Resolution 41 would establish an advisory board consisting of members from both the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) that would study and develop those policies to better prepare students.
“After the disastrous four years of Rauner’s budget standstill that devastated Illinois’ universities and colleges, I worked as the chair of the House Higher Education Committee to restore funding to those institutions while fighting to make college more affordable for students,” said Ammons. “I will fight every day to ensure that our institutions of higher learning are well-funded and work to provide better access to potential students to Illinois’ colleges.”
Criminal justice reform is a major area that Ammons has been diligently working on during her tenure in the Illinois House. Her House Bill 2045 would eliminate burdensome copayment fees for inmates who receive medical and dental services. She also supported a proposal that would prevent people from losing their licenses for unpaid fees. Her bill is the License to Work Act, Senate Bill 1786. Among other initiatives, her legislation to eliminate copay fees and decriminalize marijuana are a testament to her unwavering fight to pursue actual reform to Illinois’ criminal justice system.
As a member who represents central Illinois, environmental issues are key issues that Ammons has been prioritizing. Of those priorities, the Mahomet Aquifer is the most significant groundwater supplier for the region in Illinois, supplying water to 500,000 residents. Ammons’ Senate Bill 2027 requires the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force to thoroughly review the best plans to protect the groundwater in the short and long terms and propose best practices in the future.
“My residents do not have access to a major lake like the residents upstate,” said Ammons. “This aquifer is our region’s main source of water, and I continue to ensure that this source is protected for central Illinois.
“As a member of the House Progressive Caucus, these initiatives are major steps toward real progressive reform that will truly lift up middle-class families and strengthen Illinois, restore funding to Illinois’ universities and build upon criminal justice reform, but my work has only just begun.”
Visit Rep Carol Ammons website
288-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
407 E. University Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 666-7521 FAX