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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:04pm
Thu Sep 11, 2014

Report: Right-To-Work Laws Strain Public Budgets & Would 'Weaken' Illinois' Economy

Workers in collective-bargaining states "are subsidizing the low-wage model of employment" in states with so-called right-to-work laws that limit union power.

That's one of the key takeaways from a new report by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's School of Labor and Employment Relations.

“Our study found that right-to-work laws weaken state economies and strain public budgets,” said the report's co-author Bob Bruno, a labor professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Right-to-work laws not only sap government revenue in the form of reduced tax receipts, but they also increase government spending in outlays for food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:42pm
Wed Aug 6, 2014

Activists Call For Restrictions On The Use Of Antibiotics In Factory Farms

Consumer rights advocates and health professionals are calling on the Obama administration to restrict the use of antibiotics on healthy factory farm animals, saying the “overuse and misuse” of antibiotics generates bacteria that are resistant to one or more classes of drugs.

“Bacteria is getting resistant to these antibiotics they’re using at factory farms, and the bacteria is then being passed to our community through the air we breathe, through water, through animal waste and through the food we eat,” said Dev Gowda, of the consumer advocacy group, Illinois PIRG. “President Obama and the FDA need to take action and essentially save antibiotics for future generations.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:29pm
Thu Jan 9, 2014

Report Highlights SNAP Reform Proposals Meant To Reduce Hunger, Promote Nutrition

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a crucial anti-hunger and anti-poverty tool, but a handful of reforms are needed to boost the program's overall effectiveness, argues Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an associate professor at Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy.

About one in eight U.S. families depend on SNAP benefits, at about $1.40 per meal, for food aid. More than 2 million people in Illinois rely on the $80-billion-a-year program, which has helped to reduce hunger and rates of food insecurity in the country, while also providing support to families who face unexpected economic setbacks.

In a recent discussion paper for the Hamilton Project, Schanzenbach noted that despite the program's successes, obesity rates in the nation are still high, the method of determining food aid benefits is outdated and SNAP coverage during economic recessions needs to be improved.

Quick Hit
by
11:37am
Mon Nov 11, 2013

Op-Ed: Chicago Faith Leaders Decry Privatization Of Public Sector Jobs

Chicago's faith leaders joined forces to push back against privatization and the loss of public sector jobs.

Drawing on our sacred Scriptures which inform us that all people are created in the image of God, thereby deserving of dignity, we believe all working people need wages and benefits that will sustain them and their families. We further believe that it is in the best interest of a community to have its public-sector jobs held under the auspices of the community, not an outside contractor who too often stands to profit by exploiting the workforce and offering sub-standard services.

The great City of Chicago has witnessed a growing number of government jobs being handed over to the private sector in order to “cut expenses.” However, the decision-making process has not been transparent and there was no opportunity for public review of the private contracts. These decisions have far-reaching consequences and need to be brought into the light of public scrutiny and debate.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:18pm
Mon Aug 19, 2013

Duckworth Discusses 'Disturbing' Cuts To SNAP At Suburban Meeting

Recent federal proposals to slash billions of dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are something that U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D, IL-8) says she takes personally.

“I was hungry as a child,” the congresswoman said at a Monday roundtable discussion in Arlington Heights on hunger and SNAP cuts.

When Duckworth was in high school, her father lost his job and was unemployed for about fours years. During that time, Duckworth’s family relied on SNAP, or food stamps. But even with SNAP assistance, Duckworth said she often had to save items from her school breakfast and lunch to avoid going hungry during the weekend.

“It just disturbs me that in the greatest nation in the world, one of the richest nations on the face of the earth, we have kids who go to bed hungry ... we have seniors who go to bed hungry,” Duckworth said. “We have adults who have to choose between medicine or food, and that’s just simply wrong.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:26pm
Wed Aug 14, 2013

Illinois SNAP Recipients To See Benefits Cut By $220 Million This Fall

Two million people in Illinois who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see their food aid cut this fall when a temporary benefit increase as part of the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act ends.

Illinois SNAP recipients will see their collective benefits slashed by $220 million once the temporary increase expires October 31, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates.

Starting in November, a family of three can expect to see a $29 reduction in monthly SNAP benefits. That's a $319 cut from this coming November through September 2014, the end of the federal fiscal year. Benefits will be reduced $11 for a single-person household, $20 for a two-person household and $36 for a family of four.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
11:51am
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Consumer Advocates Demand Congress End Farm Bill Subsidies To Food Additive Production, Corporate Farms

If lawmakers are interested in cutting costs during the 2013 reauthorization of the farm bill, they should reduce wasteful spending on subsidies that support processed food additives and already profitable agribusiness corporations, according to members of the consumer advocacy group, U.S. PIRG.

“The way our subsidies are distributed right now is a strong example of how skewed our system is,” said Dani Neuharth-Keusch, assistant community outreach director for Illinois PIRG, who spoke at a press conference Tuesday to release the nationwide research group’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.”

Federally subsidized crop insurance is intended to help farmers manage the risk inherent to their business. According to the report, the current farm bill, enacted in 2008, fails to “appropriately direct federal dollars” with subsidies that “mirror a pattern of special interest influence.”

“We need to push back against subsidies skewed toward big agribusiness and inadequate subsides for fresh produce,” said Neuharth-Keusch.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:26pm
Fri May 31, 2013

IL Anti-Hunger Advocates In A 'Mode Of Outrage' Over Cuts In The Farm Bill

Anti-hunger advocates in Illinois are warning the proposed cuts in the U.S. Farm Bill will cause great devastation to the more than 2 million individuals and families in the state who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the issue. 

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