SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Diane Pappas, D-Itasca, supported a massive slate of legislation this session, which included numerous measures to expand economic opportunities for the middle class, make health care affordable for millions of Illinoisans and relieve the tax burden on Illinois’ middle class. She also supported a balanced budget that funds essential services for the state’s most vulnerable citizens, such as women with breast and cervical cancer, seniors and children.
“My chief goal when I began my time as a legislator was to make sure that the middle-class families throughout my district have the support and resources they need to be successful, which starts by making sure that the state has a balanced budget,” Pappas said. “The budget passed this year will help control spending and pay down own bills, while investing in jobs training programs, education and health care. By promoting job opportunities for all Illinoisans and funding initiatives to make health care more affordable, we can build a stronger Illinois.”
Pappas helped Illinois take strides towards a robust, economic future with her support of the 21st Century Employment grant program, a measure that will grant funding to community colleges, high schools and businesses to create jobs training programs to ensure that students have access to good-paying, long-term employment opportunities. Pappas also backed the creation of a Worker Protection Unit in the Attorney General’s office to keep employees safe from poor working conditions and mistreatment by employers.
“Secure, good-paying jobs will support our families and provide them with long-term financial stability,” Pappas said. “It’s crucial we build up prospects for the next generation of Illinoisans to succeed in a jobs market that changes rapidly in response to technological advances. Our educational initiatives for jobs training and apprenticeships will address that.”
With her support for several “Buy Local” bills, Pappas worked to keep Illinois money flowing to Illinois businesses, not into the pockets of out-of-state companies and overseas corporations. These measures also require companies that ship jobs overseas to repay every cent of taxpayer money they received in tax credits or other benefits.
“It’s time to crack down on big multi-billion dollar corporations take advantage of our local businesses,” Pappas said. “Companies that gobble up benefits meant to strengthen Illinois communities should not get away with their bad-faith practices that drain capital out of our state.”
Pappas also supported the Fair Tax amendment, which took a critical first step towards lowering the tax burden on middle-class Illinoisans while making the wealthy pay their fair share. The Fair Tax would lower taxes on 97% of Illinois taxpayers and simultaneously fund numerous new state initiatives to address problems facing communities across the state if voters approve it in 2020.
“The Fair Tax Amendment is a long-overdue step towards creating economic fairness in our state,” Pappas said. “If voters approve the measure, middle-class workers will feel the benefits of reduced taxes, and the increased revenue will help form the backbone of our work for years to come. A graduated income tax can help the state achieve a balanced budget and build a stronger future for Illinois.”
Increasing health care affordability was also an important policy achievement for Pappas. She backed the Pharmacy Benefit Manager’s Article and the Prescription Drug Pricing Transparency Act to ensure insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies did not overprice their drugs. Pappas also supported Senate Bill 2026 to stop the Trump administration’s attempts to cut off access to affordable healthcare.
“Illinoisans should not have to empty their bank accounts every time they fill a prescription,” Pappas said. “Big pharmaceutical and insurance companies are lining their pockets with obscene fees charged to unsuspecting patients with preexisting conditions. We have to make health care cheaper and more secure, and I am committed to stopping predatory businesses and politicians in Washington from taking advantage of middle-class families.”
Pappas has also passed legislation of significant local importance. In response to a tragedy in a nearby kennel, Pappas proposed House Bill 3390, which requires kennel operators to add sprinkler systems or fire alarms that automatically contact the fire department when activated if they are not constantly staffed.
“It’s a tragedy that we do not protect our boarded animals,” Pappas said. “We have to do a better job ensuring this does not happen again, and my legislation to equip kennels with fire protection systems will do just that.”
Pappas was also instrumental in passing SB1217, a bill that will allow non home-rule communities in DuPage County to use up to 25% of hotel occupancy tax revenue for capital infrastructure or economic improvement projects.
“I was thrilled to help enact this initiative of DuPage Mayors and Managers,” Pappas said, “that will give our communities flexibility to implement local improvements without needing to raise property taxes.”