UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
(UUSJ) OF GREATER CHICAGO

ORGANIZING FOR JUSTICE LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY

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The UUSJ Economic Justice and HomelessnessTask Force issued this Action Alert on January 6, 2021 to IL Governor Pritzer and Leaders of the IL General Assembly for a Transaction Tax to Raise IL Revenue

Dear Governor Pritzker,
          I thank you for your strong support of the Fair Tax Amendment to Illinois’s Constitution.  Unfortunately it failed to win adoption at the November, 2020, general election.  Since our state has a severe budget deficit and needs to raise revenue in addition to looking for ways to reduce expenses without hurting the people of Illinois, I urge you and the General Assembly to take a serious look at enacting a financial transaction tax, which would be a much more progressive way to raise revenue than an increase in Illinois’ non-progressive income tax.
          The financial transaction taxation legislation introduced in the last General Assembly contained the following wording:
Creates the Financial Transaction Tax Act. Beginning January 1, 202_, imposes a tax on the privilege of engaging in a financial transaction on any of the following exchanges or boards of trade: the Chicago Stock Exchange; the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; the Chicago Board of Trade; or the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Provides that the tax is imposed at a rate of $1 per transaction for all transactions for which the underlying asset is an agricultural product, a financial instruments contract, or an options contract. Provides that transactions executed via open outcry that are physically filled on the exchange floor are exempt from the tax. Provides that the term "financial transaction" means a transaction involving the purchase or sale of a stock contract, futures contract, swap contract, credit default swap contract, or options contract, but does not include a transaction involving securities held in a retirement account or a transaction involving a mutual fund.
            I would urge that the tax be $1 (or other appropriate rate) per contract or option, rather than $1 per transaction, so that large transactions pay more than smaller ones.  The wording of the act needs to be revised to make it clear that the tax is not on the listed Exchanges, as that would likely drive such institutions out of our state, but on the individuals or entities selling the options or contracts.  The Exchanges should also be able to add a charge to cover any cost they incur to administer this financial transaction tax.  I do not believe that mutual funds that engage in options and financial contact sales should be exempted from this tax.  Last, it would be cumbersome for the Exchanges to determine whether the security was held in a retirement account, so that exception should also be eliminated.
          I look forward to your reply and thoughts on enacting such a financial transaction tax.

                                                          Sincerely,

 

The UUSJ Criminal Justice and HomelessnessTask Force issued this Action Alert in December 2020 regarding the Restorative Sentencing Act in 2021 to IL Representatives and Senators

Representative
Stratton Bldg, #
Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Representative
I am writing to encourage you to co-sponsor, or at least support, the Restorative Sentencing Act in 2021.

Before 1998, individuals in Illinois prisons could proactively earn time off their sentence through good behavior and participation in prison programming. This system changed in 1998 with the passage of truth-in-sentencing (TIS) laws. Today, these laws limit the amount of time individuals convicted of certain offenses can earn off their non-life sentences. As a result, TIS laws drive mass incarceration at a considerable cost to taxpayers and prevent individuals from participating in programming that prepares them to successfully return to the community.

Restorative Sentencing bill identifiers are SB2054/HB2620 in the current General Assembly that is about to end, but new identifiers will very likely accrue in the new General Assembly.

The Restorative Sentencing Act allows individuals who were sentenced under TIS laws to earn a sentencing credit if they complete a rehabilitative program.

Incentivizing individuals to participate in restorative programming (educational programs, substance abuse programs, behavioral modification programs and life skills courses) is one of the safest ways to reduce the prison population and decrease recidivism.

I look forward to learning your position on the Restorative Sentencing Act.

Sincerely,