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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:10pm
Mon Jan 26

Study: Low-Income Illinoisans Hit Hard Under State's Tax System

Low-income Illinoisans have the third-highest state and local tax burden in the nation, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children.

The study, which examined the distribution of all major state and local taxes by income group in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, showed that the poorest Illinois residents currently pay almost three times more in taxes as a percent of their income compared to the richest Illinoisans.

Illinois' effective tax rates by income group are 13.2 percent for those in the bottom 20 percent of the income scale, 10.8 percent for the middle 20 percent and 4.6 percent for the top 1 percent, according to the study.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:41pm
Mon Jan 26

Activists Sound Off On Anti-Abortion Bill Passed By GOP-Led House

Last week, the Republican-controlled U.S. House passed legislation that would permanently block federal funds from being used to pay for abortions and health insurance plans that cover the procedure. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue and rounds up some reaction to the measure, which was put forward after GOP leaders dropped a more restrictive bill seeking to ban abortions 20 weeks after conception. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:52pm
Fri Jan 23

Experts Discuss Outcomes Of 2013 Chicago School Closings

Progress Illinois provides highlights from a panel discussion on the aftermath of the 2013 school closings in Chicago.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:31pm
Fri Jan 23

State Report Examines Potential Impact Of Exelon Illinois Nuclear Plant Closures

Progress Illinois takes a look at a recent study by four state agencies exploring how the state's economy and environment as well as electric prices, generation capacity and service reliability could be impacted if Exelon retires three of its six Illinois nuclear plants prematurely.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:42pm
Thu Jan 22

Worker Advocacy Group Calls For Strong Federal Overtime Reforms

Ahead of new overtime regulations expected to be released by the Labor Department next month, the National Employment Law Project is calling for strong reforms to ensure workers are compensated fairly for the long hours they work. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue and the group's recommendations.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:20am
Thu Jan 22

Advocates Urge Rauner, Illinois Legislature To Prioritize Mental Health Funding

As the Democrat-controlled Illinois legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner gear up to tackle the state's fiscal problems, including a multi-billion budget deficit, mental health advocates are warning against further cuts to community-based services.

"Community mental health services have been cut to the core, and we're seeing a lot of the fallout," said Heather O'Donnell, vice president of public policy and advocacy for Chicago-based Thresholds, a recovery service provider for people with mental illness in Illinois.

Among other issues, O'Donnell noted that the Cook County Jail has about 2,000 inmates with some form of mental illness. And 22,000 people with mental illness in the state are living in nursing homes even though they "don't need that level of care." These people, she explained, would likely be homeless if they were not living in such facilities due to the lack of housing and other supports for them to live independently.

"We just need to make sure that we preserve every dollar, because we don't have anything else in the community mental health system that we can cut without costing the state far more than the cuts," O'Donnell stressed.

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