On Tax Day, Activists Urge Illinoisans To Support A Graduated Income Tax (VIDEO)

Considering taxes are on the minds of many today, activists gathered outside of a downtown Chicago post office to campaign for a graduated income tax rate in Illinois.

“This flat tax that people in this state are burdened with right now is totally unfair and makes the poor and middle class pay more in taxes than people who can really afford it,” said Bob Gallie, a volunteer for A Better Illinois.

Gallie was one of a handful of activists with the statewide coalition who passed out literature in Federal Plaza, 230 S. Dearborn St., Tuesday afternoon, urging people to support a “fair” tax, which would implement higher tax rates for those with higher income levels, and lower rates for people who bring in less income.

With the use of the group's Illinois Fair Tax Calculator, activists were able to show people passing through the plaza that they could likely save money on their taxes if the state had a progressive tax rate.

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Illinois Social Service Providers Brace For A 'Tough' Budgetary Year

The philanthropic and non-profit community in Illinois is bracing itself for what is expected to be a "painful" budgetary year.

"It's going to be tough," said Valerie Lies, president and CEO of the Donors Forum, a member association working to strengthen the state's philanthropic and non-profit sector. "I feel like we haven't even started to dig ourselves out, and I think [this] gubernatorial election will be an important one."

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Durbin Joins Congressmen In Unveiling Report On E-Cigarette Marketing Practices, Presses FDA For Regulatory Action

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) hopes a report issued Monday detailing the marketing tactics used by electronic cigarette companies will coerce the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take regulatory action on the products.

E-cigarettes are currently free from numerous sales, marketing and product regulations at the federal level that apply to traditional cigarettes.

Durbin and 11 other Democratic lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate launched a joint investigation into the marketing practices of nine companies that make commonly sold e-cigarette brands including MarkTen, Vuse, NJOY King, Eonsmoke, LOGIC, V2 Cigs, VaporCouture, Blu, Green Smoke and White Cloud. The investigation's findings were revealed Monday. The report shows a recent uptick in e-cigarette marketing, including tactics that Durbin says appeal to minors.

"E-cigarettes are a candy-flavored addiction, which is dangerous to our young people across America," the senator said on a press call Monday morning about the new report. "It is growing in popularity among children and sadly poses serious public health threats."

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Report: TIFs Play A Role In Chicago's Pension Crisis

With the media and public spotlight on Chicago's pension crisis, the non-partisan research center Good Jobs First is turning the attention to the city's controversial tax increment financing, or TIF, program.

In its recent "Putting Municipal Pension Costs Into Context: Chicago" report, the Washington, D.C.-based group asserts that the TIF program has played a part in the underfunding of pensions in the city.

"It's really hard to ignore the evidence that TIF has had some sort of impact on pensions," said Tommy Cafcas, research analyst at Good Jobs First, which works to promote corporate and government accountability.

"We know that TIF costs grew, and they started growing really quickly after 2000. We know that general fund revenues declined ... and we know that the city addressed its budget gap in part by making inadequate contributions to public pensions, so it seems reasonable that TIF plays a role in how the city thinks about addressing the pension issue."

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One In Two Illinoisans Struggles With Reading

Adult literacy goes beyond being able to curl up with a good book.  Experts say reading struggles also can translate into troubles functioning in an ever-changing world. 

Dorothy Miaso, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Illinois, says being literate means knowing how to be successful within a family, community and workplace. 

She says studies show that one in every two adults has difficulties in one of those areas.

"They may not be able to compute as well, use technological equipment," she explains. "Math has always been a problem. They may not be able to follow editorials, and another thing is health literacy."
 

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