SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“IllinoisÂ State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on her support of education funding reform and a ballot referendum on raising the minimum wage:
Public servants have an obligation not only to provide short-term relief and assistance to people in need, but to bring an end to the generational poverty that traps so many of our neighbors in a cycle of hopelessness persisting through good times and bad. Those caught in the cycle are disproportionately men, women and children of color. Yet whatever their race, national origin or zip code, they are crushed by the same appalling yet familiar litany of wrongs: few jobs, unfair pay, underfunded schools, subpar housing, predatory loans, decaying blocks and unsafe streets.
This week, I was proud to support two legislative measures with the potential to attack the root causes of generational poverty. One will let voters in this Novemberâ€™s election tell legislators whether or not they support raising the minimum wage â€” a policy popular in all regions of the state and among people of all political persuasions. No one who works full-time should live in poverty, unable to provide for his or her family.
The other would radically reform Illinoisâ€™ broken and unjust education funding system. Because of the inequitable way state funds for public schools are distributed in Illinois, poor communities tax themselves at high rates yet struggle to provide a barely adequate education for their young people, while wealthier communities pay far lower property tax rates but can afford luxuries. Senate Bill 16 would base state aid on a combination of local resources and student need, acknowledging that more resources are needed to overcome barriers to learning in communities with higher concentrations of poverty.
High-quality education and fair pay are essential to lifting families and communities out of generational poverty. I commend my colleagues for letting votersâ€™ voices be heard on the minimum wage. I urge members of the House to follow the Senateâ€™s lead on school funding and not turn their backs on children who could not choose where they were born but with a world-class education can choose a better future.