SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Yehiel “Mark” Kalish, D-Chicago, worked to enact a fair tax and provide relief for middle class families, demand equal pay for women, and ensure access to quality health care during the spring legislative session.
Kalish backed a Fair Tax system for Illinois, giving Illinois residents the opportunity to vote to provide relief for 97% of taxpayers. Under the state’s current flat tax, middle-class families bear too much of a burden. The Fair Tax Kalish passed ensures the state can balance budgets and hold the line on middle-class taxes by making the wealthiest pay a little more to fund critical services like schools, health care and senior services.
Additionally, Kalish backed a balanced budget that pays down over a billion dollars in old bills, invests $375 million in our local school, fully funds critical state services, meets our full pension obligation and hold the line on middle-class taxes.
“Our current structure helps the ultra-wealthy skirt paying their fair share, while putting the burden squarely on the backs of families in our community,” Kalish said. “A Fair Tax levels the playing field, fully funds our local schools and critical services, balances the budget, and pays down our state’s backlog of bills—while offering tax relief for those most in need.”
To fight against the prejudicial and unfair wages that women have faced in the past, Kalish sponsored and helped pass the Equal Pay Act, House Bill 834, which bars companies from requiring applicants to submit previous salary history and locking women into a lifetime of reduced pay by doubling-down on prejudicial and unfair wages in the past. Additionally, Kalish backed a measure that prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace, House Bill 252, and legislation that cracks down on sexual harassment in the workplace, Senate Bill 1588. Kalish was also the chief sponsor of a proposal, House Bill 92, which prohibits a police officer from arresting a victim of sexual assault who is seeking medical attention, and clarifies to victims of sexual assault that law enforcement prioritizes bringing sexual abusers to justice.
“As a father and husband, I fight each day to ensure that my daughter and wife have the same opportunities afforded to their male peers,” Kalish said. “Women who are doing the same work as men deserve to be paid at the same rate, and they should have the right to work in an environment free of harassment.”
While access to quality health care remains under attack by extreme Washington politicians, Kalish helped lead the fight to preserve access to affordable care for our families. Kalish passed legislation, Senate Bill 2026, which protects health care for millions of Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions. To lower skyrocketing medical costs burdening working families, Kalish supported legislation, House Bill 471, to stop double-digit premiums and a measure, House Bill 156, to cut the cost of prescription drugs.
“As Washington politicians are fighting to take away our health care, it’s vital that we enact protections at the state level to preserve access to care for our families,” Kalish said. “No one should be denied care because they have a pre-existing condition or forego lifesaving medication because of skyrocketing costs. The well-being of our families should always come first.
“During my first session we passed real, progressive reforms that put Illinois on a better path. While these accomplishments are important, there is much more work to be done. I will continue my commitment to ensure that our families have access to quality healthcare, our children receive the educational opportunities they deserve, and to build an economy that puts middle-class families first.”