We live in one of the most politically dysfunctional states in the Union. Our Springfield lawmakers tax us too much, waste too much of our hard-earned money on unnecessary spending, and devote most of their energies to serving their fellow politicians rather than the people of Illinois.
If we want this situation to change, we have to make it happen. To get there, we need a vision for a better way and a plan to get there.
The Prairie State Promise offers both. It is an agenda for change that can transform our state by removing barriers to opportunity and holding politicians and public officials to account. And it addresses the issues most important to the Illinois.
It is a program that offers practical and sensible solutions to our greatest challenges and empowers people, rather than politicians, to make decisions about policies that affect our lives and the well-being of our families. .
Health care and education
Let’s start with health care.
Our laws are rife with barriers that allow political insiders to restrict access to healthcare, including certificate of need laws, licensing requirements that prevent qualified healthcare professionals from serving patients, and restrictions on telehealth.
You know better than politicians which health care plan is right for you. Prairie State Promise urges lawmakers to remove these barriers and stop the government’s gradual takeover of healthcare and give Illinois residents a personal option that puts patients in control of their care at affordable prices.
Education is another issue that is high on the agenda of every Illinois family.
The key to success is providing all students with access to the educational environment that best meets their unique needs. To achieve this, we need policies that allow families to choose from a variety of educational opportunities, whether it is a traditional public school, a public charter school, a private school, distance education, home education or any other option that allows students to unleash their unlimited potential. .
We also need systems that allow students to receive credit for learning wherever it happens, because while the learning that takes place in the traditional classroom is important, we know that students can learn. through a variety of approaches and from a variety of experiences.
Empowering parents is important, as is empowering taxpayers.
Illinoisans struggle with the highest combined state and local taxes in the country. One of the reasons is that the political class represents itself instead of the people.
One way to remedy this is to give every voter a voice on the issues that matter most. It means allowing referendums on lowering taxes.
The people weigh in on the tax issue, but politicians should stop spending the money we don’t have.
National and local lawmakers must face the pension crisis they created and stop making the problem worse. This means that politicians should stop serving the political class and start serving the people who elected them.
If politicians refuse to deal with the problem, they should submit pension reform to voters in the form of a constitutional amendment.
Safe communities and second chances
We can keep our communities safe and give people who return to their communities a second chance.
Getting and keeping a job is one of the most critical factors for a person to successfully re-enter society after going through the criminal justice system. However, many professional licenses create arbitrary restrictions on obtaining a license for people with a criminal record. Illinois must follow the lead of other states and reform professional licensing regimes to reduce these unnecessary barriers.
Working hand in hand with this policy is the erasure of convictions for offenses that are no longer considered illegal.
There are far too many people in prison for too long, especially those convicted of low-intensity non-violent offenses. While in prison, the focus should be on rehabilitation to ensure that they can re-enter society and earn a living.
Corporate welfare and political corruption
Corporate welfare and corruption go hand in hand. They feed on each other.
Corruption and corporate welfare divert public resources from those who need them most to those who collude with the political class. They lead to higher taxes, reduced public services and the destruction of people’s trust in public institutions.
Illinois needs tougher penalties for public corruption, more transparency in the legislature, and an end to corporate welfare at state and local levels. Success in business must be determined by serving customers, not politicians.
We deserve elected officials who are open and honest with the public and who deliver solutions that empower the people of Illinois. This is the purpose of the Prairie State Promise.
We will work with all those who share the vision of a Land of Lincoln which is also a land of opportunity for every citizen.
Jason Heffley is state director of Americans for Prosperity-Illinois. Americans for Prosperity is a national conservative political advocacy group founded in 2004.