This week, State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago) hosted a school funding town hall in Jefferson Park with State Rep. Robert Senator Mulroe and Rep. Martwick at a school funding townhallMartwick (D-Chicago) and education advocates. They discussed Senate Bill 1 and efforts to reform Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula.

Senate Bill 1 is a landmark school funding reform measure that provides fair funding to all school districts in Illinois. It would implement an evidence-based school funding model based on 27 best practices which are proven to enhance student achievement in the classroom. The model accounts for factors such as the number of students with disabilities and low-income students.

Under Senate Bill 1, no school district would receive less funding than it did in fiscal year 2017. It aims to level the playing field by funneling new money into school districts that are the least able to offer a high-quality education based on student needs, local property wealth and a district's taxing effort. The measure also makes high-tax school districts eligible for property tax relief.

Senate Bill 1 passed both chambers on May 31, but the governor issued an amendatory veto earlier this month to take away resources from Chicago.

Ginger Ostro provides an overview of SB 1As it passed the Senate and House, this legislation would shift CPS' pension costs from the school district to the state. CPS is currently the only school district in Illinois that is responsible for the employer's share of teachers' pensions. Under Senate Bill 1, Chicago Public Schools would receive an additional $292 million total for the next school year to implement the evidence-based school funding formula and for pension costs. Senate Bill 1 also sunsets the Chicago block grant, which was used for certain special education line items, school transportation, among other costs. CPS, like all school districts, would not lose funding under Senate Bill 1. Moving forward, the money that CPS had received as the block grant would be moved into its base funding and CPS would submit claims for these reimbursements as other school districts do.

To learn more about Senate Bill 1 and to view the presentation from the town hall, click here. To view the broadcast of the town hall, click here.

Category: Front Page

Senator Mulroe on the Senate floorState Senator John G. Mulroe, a Chicago Democrat, co-sponsored legislation to ensure that Illinoisans cannot be denied health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition. State law does not currently protect patients from being excluded from insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

“Under current federal law, individuals cannot be denied health insurance coverage based on a pre-existing condition,” Mulroe said. “In light of the federal uncertainty, I believe it is important to ensure that Illinois maintains a policy of covering individuals regardless of pre-existing conditions.”

Nearly half of non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing condition, which includes diseases such as diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and mental health disorders.

Under the proposed federal Republican health care plan, states could vary premiums based on health status in certain scenarios and would not be required to provide insurance coverage for high-risk patients. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could lead to skyrocketing premiums for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

“Given that the Republicans at the federal level have expanded the list of pre-existing conditions that may not be covered under their proposal, it is important to pass this legislation now to protect Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions,” Mulroe said.

House Bill 2959 garnered bipartisan support. It passed both chambers and will be sent to the governor for approval.

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Senator Mulroe on the Senate floorWith ongoing negotiations to end Illinois’s historic budget impasse, State Senator John Mulroe has introduced a plan to examine the billions of dollars that the state gives away in tax credits every year.

“Before increasing taxes and burdening the middle class, we must have an honest assessment of our budget priorities and examine every dollar the state is spending,” Mulroe said. “While many of the state’s tax credits benefit important components of our economy, we are facing a fiscal crisis and have to ensure that we create the best deal possible for taxpayers. Every dollar counts.”

Senate Bill 472 eliminates a number of tax exemptions that currently go to large corporations. These tax credits result in nearly $2 billion in lost revenue for the state of Illinois. Mulroe’s plan also caps deductions and credits for Illinoisans who file joint returns with income over $500,000 and ensures that everyone pays their fair share.  

“Due to the pressure that the governor’s $5 billion budget gap has placed on the state, we need to take a fresh look at state spending, including tax credits,” Mulroe said. “If certain tax credits are not meeting their intended goals, then taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize corporate welfare at a time when social service agencies are closing left and right.”

Mulroe is hoping that by introducing this plan he will spark a robust conversation with his Senate colleagues on how to end the impasse and balance the needs of working families and taxpayers with economic development.

“Through my experience as a CPA, I believe that we must have a modern tax code that reduces the burden on the working class and acknowledges how business is conducted in this day and age with technology advancements that have made it easier to operate a business.”

Category: Front Page

Senator Mulroe speaks at the 10-year anniversary of the Smoke-Free Illinois ActToday marks the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, which banned smoking in indoor public areas, workplaces and within 15 feet of the entrance to those facilities. Since then hospitalizations from asthma, heart attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have decreased by 20.5 percent.

“Passing Smoke-Free Illinois was a huge step toward making our state healthier,” Mulroe said. “Though many tobacco-related hospitalizations have been reduced, we still have a lot of work to do. In Illinois, a little over 15 percent of adults smoke, and each year and more than 18,000 Illinois residents die as a result of tobacco use. That’s why I sponsored Senate Bill 3011 last year to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.”

By increasing the legal age of smoking in Illinois to 21, The National Institute of Medicine estimates that 25 percent fewer youths would start smoking with a 12 percent decrease in general smoking rates.

“Tobacco kills more people than AIDS and car accidents,” Mulroe said. “I think we need to reconsider how young people get started smoking and work to promote healthy choices.”

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