We ran for office because we believe the well-being of people, the needs of our communities, and the health of our environment should be the top priorities in Springfield. Passing an Illinois budget that addresses these priorities is our most urgent work. The last 18 months have been nothing less than catastrophic for the people of Illinois, especially parents and children, college students, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and anyone who needs the social safety net.

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Illinois cannot solve its structural budget deficit through a combination of cuts to vital government responsibilities and the expansion of regressive taxes like the sales tax and a flat income tax. Such a plan would begin to pay down $11 billion in bills, but leave our public goods and services in shambles. Instead, Democrats must unite behind a bold plan to make major investments in our state that will significantly improve the lives of Illinoisans and create hundreds of thousands of good jobs: a world-class public education system; free public higher education; safe and efficient roads, bridges and public transportation; universal health care; green energy; and a robust social safety net to assist people in times of crisis.

The good news is that Illinois can afford to do all these things — even while preserving the pensions of public workers — if we close corporate tax loopholes, pass the LaSalle Street Tax (a minuscule sales tax on the Chicago-based trading of futures and commodities) and enact a graduated income tax. These three changes to Illinois’ tax code would raise $23 billion annually without requiring working class people to endure another tax hike they can’t afford.

These are ambitious, forward-thinking proposals to stabilize our state’s economy for the long term. Some might question whether our proposals are politically possible, but the depth of our current crisis calls for bigger solutions than the cynicism of politics might imagine. It’s up to us to paint a hopeful vision for our collective future and fight for it every day in Springfield.

State Rep. Carol Ammons,
State Sen. Omar Aquino,
State Sen. Daniel Biss,
State Rep. Will Guzzardi

What’s in Store?

General Flynn was asked to resign. Kellyanne Conway is being criticized for breach of ethics
for promoting Ivanka’s clothing line after Nordstrom dropped it. California’s Rep. Maxine Waters has already uttered the “impeach” word, and Trump’s administration has not been in place for 30 days yet

I say wow! What the heck’s in store for the rest of the term?

Patricia Belmonte, Weschester

Not handouts

John Stossel calls Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other “entitlements” handouts. I would ask him to think about an America before those protections and safety nets, which actually benefit all Americans whether they receive them directly or not. Every time I read Stossel, it strengthens my belief that libertarians are basically out of their minds.

Dennis Gorecki, Orland Park

Misses the mark

Susan Ross, a theology professor at Chicago’s Loyola University, writes in the Feb. 15 Sun-Times that the one-issue Catholics who oppose abortion (“pro-life Catholics”) should broaden their outlook.

She offers that opposing President Donald Trump’s agenda on immigration, environment, “law and order approach to racial injustice,” effects of defunding women’s “reproductive health services,” etc. will make pro-life Catholics “more robust” Catholics.

Professor Ross misses the mark by a mile.

The most basic human right is life and its continuation. The so-called constitutional right of a pregnant woman to end life within her renders opposition to “Trump’s agenda” a nullity. If life ceases to exist, there is no need to be concerned about other temporal matters.

To paraphrase the Green Bay Packers’ Vince Lombardi, “Life is not the most important thing; it is the only thing.”

Dennis M. Dohm, Oak Lawn

Will anything change?

After the Republicans experienced President Barack Obama’s re-election and other serious losses in 2012, the party had multiple meetings as part of its soul searching and determined to go forward with plans to broaden its appeal to and support from women and minority groups. Nothing changed! Now the Democrats are reeling from significant losses in 2016 at the local, state, and national levels. Soul searching is actively underway. Will anything change?

Mary F. Warren, Wheaton

Mind-blowing

It is mind-blowing for those of a certain age to read that the party who gave us the “Red Scare” and is moving us inexplicably to war with Russia is so cozy with that country. General Flynn, as some may recall, led the cheers to “Lock Her Up” at the RNC. Now the chant could be to ” Lock Him Up” for potential treasonous a against our country. Why is it not wrong to withhold information from the American public and at the same time collude with “our enemy”?

Edward Juillard, Morgan Park

Get Trump to step down

Ivanka, Eric and Junior must step up and persuade their father to step down as president.

His disrespect for the presidency is corrupting our political culture. His mendacity in spreading toxic lies about anyone who opposes his pursuit of power is bottomless. His ignorance of the basic functions and responsibilities of the presidencies is inexplicable. His likely compromising of American security and sovereignty with political, financial and personal connections with Russia is unprecedented in American history.

Trump is a broken person who, at age 70, cannot be made whole. He cannot be shamed into resigning. He will not be impeached by congressional Republicans possessing not a shred of decency and patriotism to do so. They won’t even open the investigation crying out to be opened. Only the kids can save their father and their brand from further shame and inevitable destruction. It doesn’t matter if they don’t do it to save the dignity and importance of the presidency. It doesn’t matter if they don’t do it to prevent the next war. It’s OK if their motives are strictly personal and familial. They just need to do it. Now.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn