SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, took steps to build a stronger Illinois by building a stronger middle class this legislative session, passing a fiscally responsible budget and fighting for fair taxes for middle-class families, more job opportunities and workplace equity, and more affordable health care.
“After four years of crisis, we finally see the first signs of a state moving in a better direction – and there’s a lot of work to be done,” Mussman said. “Middle-class families deserve fairer taxes, we need significant steps to create high-wage jobs, and we need to make health care more affordable. These are the priorities I hear every day when I walk door-to-door, and working to address these concerns is my commitment to the people of our community.”
Mussman passed a balanced state budget that holds the line on middle-class taxes while ensuring needed funding for essential services – including investing $375 million in new funding for schools, and funding resources for children with special needs, at-risk seniors and women’s health care. In an important step toward repairing the damage done during Illinois’ 700-day budget crisis, the budget commits more than $1 billion to paying down old bills, and meets all pension obligations.
“Moving Illinois forward starts with fiscal responsibility,” Mussman said. “After too much uncertainty, this budget is honest and balanced, and invests in our most critical priorities while controlling spending overall.”
In a step toward long-term fiscal stability and fair middle-class taxes, Mussman passed a Fair Tax that offers relief for 98% of local residents. Under Illinois’ current system, middle-class families bear too much of a burden – paying nearly twice as much of their income in taxes as wealthy people do. The Fair Tax levels the playing field and takes a step toward long-term budget stability. By making the wealthy pay a little more, it will help hold the line on middle-class taxes, and balance future budgets while investing needed funds in schools, health care and economic development.
The Fair Tax package Mussman supported included credits for property taxpayers, and Mussman went further by voting to create a Property Tax Relief Fund which will use state funds to provide a property tax rebate to homeowners.
“As I walk door-to-door talking with people in our communities, I hear how our families bear too much of a burden,” Mussman said. “Income taxes, property taxes, health care costs and other expenses are hitting middle-class families hard. Asking the wealthiest pay a little more so we can hold the line on middle class taxes, balance budgets and invest in important services is an important step toward fairness.”
To build a stronger economy, Mussman has focused on resources that prepare young people for high-wage jobs. Working with business groups including the Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Mussman voted to restore a key research and development tax credit for Illinois employers, and create a new tax credit for businesses that create apprenticeship opportunities. Legislation Mussman supported also brings together community colleges, high schools and employers to help grow the economy and prepare workers for high-wage jobs by creating the 21st Century Employment Grant Program. The program makes resources available for employers that enter into public-private partnerships to create customized job training programs specific to the skills they are looking for in workers.
Mussman also passed legislation strengthening Illinois’ commitment to equal pay for women, by preventing bad actors from using salary histories to lock women into a lifetime of unfair pay.
“Improving Illinois’ business climate and creating jobs means ensuring our workforce is second to none, striving to make our workplaces the most fair and equitable in the nation, and investing in businesses that invest in Illinois,” Mussman said. “These measures partner with employers that are leading the way toward a high-wage economy and provides them with the resources they need to create jobs and innovate.”
Mussman also took significant steps toward reining in health care costs and defending women’s medical privacy. Pushing back against out-of-touch politicians in Washington trying to strip away our health care, Mussman fought for legislation protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions, and passed measures capping skyrocketing health insurance premiums and reining in out-of-control prescription drug costs.
While states like Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia push outrageous restrictions on women’s health with the goal of dismantling federal protections for a woman’s right to choose, Mussman supported legislation making women’s health care a fundamental right. The Reproductive Health Act Mussman helped pass will ensure women in Illinois are always able to make their own medical decisions – regardless of what Donald Trump, right-wing judges and extreme politicians in other states do.
“These steps to protecting individual rights, building a stronger middle class, and building a stronger Illinois show that our state will not join a race to the bottom, but is finally ready to work its way to the top,” Mussman said. “This work is far from over and it will still require many difficult choices. My pledge to the people of our community remains what it has always been: real tax relief, a high-wage economy, accessible health care, and a fairer, stronger Illinois for all.”