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State

Chicago mayor-elect tells Senate ‘bold action’ – including a graduated income tax – needed in Illinois

Lightfoot says she will be ‘active partner’ in efforts to solve state’s problems

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot shakes hands with Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, after addressing the state Senate on Thursday at the Capitol in Springfield.
Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot shakes hands with Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, after addressing the state Senate on Thursday at the Capitol in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD – In her second consecutive day of addressing lawmakers at the Capitol on Thursday, Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot once again called for statewide unity and told the Illinois Senate “bold action” will be necessary to “bring real change” to the state.

“My charge is clear: bring change by creating real opportunity in every neighborhood so that people have the luxury to dream big and to thrive,” she said. “This is only possible if we, as leaders and public servants, create governments that are ethical.” 

One of those necessary changes, she said, was a graduated income tax touted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker – a measure that advanced out of the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday.

“As elected officials, we must measure ourselves by the simple yardstick: Are we empowering people to make a better life for themselves and their families?” she said. “I commend this body for taking a step in that direction. I understand that recently you have taken the initial steps to move forward with the governor’s plan to institute a fair tax that ensures everyone pays their fair share but frees the more modest earners from aggressive taxation that has kept them from getting ahead.” 

Lightfoot called the plan the “type of bold change” that she looks forward to working with Springfield to accomplish. The measure is a constitutional amendment that would allow the Legislature to impose higher income tax rates on larger margins of income.

She also gave her support to protecting pensions, calling them a “promise,” and put a focus on ending an “epidemic of violence.”

She said violence must be addressed so children “do not have to live in fear” and so public safety is no longer “a commodity” available to only the wealthy.

“The solutions that we forge together in Chicago can and should have resonance across the entire state,” she said.

She also touched on transportation, noting Illinoisans “expect and deserve” a transportation infrastructure that is safe and reduces bottlenecks and barriers to trade.

“I will be an active partner as we tackle these and other challenges,” she said.

She also continued to focus on statewide unity, mentioning communities such as Centreville, Cairo, Decatur and Benton.

“We are open and anxious to learn from others in this state and across the nation in how we can build a better, greater Chicago,” she said.

At the end of her address, Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, thanked her for her appearance.

“I’ll be back,” Lightfoot said.

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