Direct investments in health coverage, tax credits, and other benefits for people with low income will serve families hardest hit by the pandemic.
February 2, 2022
Every year, our elected officials make choices about budget priorities and how we collectively invest in the people and communities in our state. These choices signify our values. As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis, low-income communities and communities of color continue to be hardest hit. The Shriver Center is advocating for direct investments in Illinois’ FY 2023 budget through programs and policies that will increase access to affordable health care and ensure the economic survival of thousands of Illinois families.
Over 900,000 Illinois residents, a vast majority of whom are Black, Latino/a/x, and other people of color, lack health insurance. The cost of being uninsured is too high—especially during a pandemic. We urge Governor Pritzker and leaders in the Illinois General Assembly to include support for providing affordable, comprehensive health coverage to the remainder of uninsured low-income residents, ages 19-54 regardless of immigration status, in the budget, as well as $40 million for the reinstatement of an Illinois community-based enrollment assister program to encourage people who are already eligible for federally subsidized coverage to enroll. We also support increasing funding for community mental health services to increase the workforce through the Rebuild Illinois Mental Health Workforce Coalition.
A healthy Illinois also means a fiscally sound one, where the economy works for everyone. Yet many low-income Illinois families continue to struggle in the face of the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic, combined with rising costs and inflation. Instead of helping wealthier Illinoisans through property tax rebates, or providing one-year, non-targeted cuts to grocery and gas taxes that do little to benefit people most in need, as the Governor proposed, we urge state leaders to permanently expand the Illinois Earned Income Credit (EIC) in the FY 2023 budget. Expanding refundable tax credits like EIC puts money directly into the pockets of low-wage workers, helping them meet basic needs while putting money quickly and directly back into the local economy. We also urge the governor and legislature to raise the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash grant and provide full child support pass through, policies that would provide additional support to the lowest income families.
Our fiscal policies should ensure that all Illinois families can thrive. We urge the inclusion of these initiatives in the FY 2023 budget to provide necessary support for Illinois families and expand opportunities for people and communities harmed by structural racism.
Systemic inequities and the legacy of structural racism make it harder for low-income people and people of color to achieve financial stability.
Healthcare is a human right. The high cost of care means millions of families have no access to the critical care all human beings deserve.