SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, D-Cicero, used the spring legislative session to begin building an Illinois that works for everyone by ensuring working families earn a living wage, expanding access to state financial aid for minority and marginalized young people, and supporting the Fair Tax, which provides tax relief to 99.8% of families in her community and requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share.
“It is unacceptable that nearly 80 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, which is why we took action and provided working families a living wage,” Hernandez said. “This legislation will not only lift millions of families out of poverty but it will also make our state a more appealing place to live and work as the higher wages will create billions of dollars in new economic activity.”
Hernandez championed Senate Bill 1, which increased the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 per hour. According to the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, this plan will generate $19 billion in new economic activity every year, while also lifting hundreds of thousands of families out of poverty and helping parents provide new opportunities for their children. The Hernandez-backed plan also provides small and medium-sized businesses with a tax credit, helping 80 percent of businesses cover a significant amount of these new wages.
Additionally, Hernandez led the charge on the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act, House Bill 2691, to ensure financial aid equity for minority and marginalized young people. The legislation expands access to state aid by increasing the credit hour limit in place that disproportionately locks out African-American and other people of color from state aid. Hernandez’s RISE Act also allows Illinois students who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, to receive state financial aid. The measure also ensures transgender students who do not register for required military service are still able to receive financial aid.
“Higher education is key to move up the socioeconomic ladder and it’s unacceptable that our minority and LGBTQ youth are being disproportionately locked out of state financial aid,” Hernandez said. “This legislation is about equity for all students, ensuring that regardless of your race, immigration status or gender identity, you are valued and supported by our state.”
Hernandez also supported the Fair Tax, which requires that the very wealthy pay their share and provide tax relief to 99.8% of families in her community. Illinois’ tax system is among the most unfair in the country and working families bear too much of a burden, which is why Hernandez fought to make the wealthiest pay their fair share so we can build an Illinois that works for everyone.
“For too long, Illinois’ budget crises have created instability and divestment in our communities,” Hernandez said. “By asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share we’ll be able invest in our local public schools, create good paying jobs, and make sure all Illinoisans have access to quality and affordable health care.”