Jay needs to do the real work for change

To the Editor:

I was happy to read in last week’s paper that Jay Travis strongly supports my bill to amend the constitution and institute a progressive income tax for the State of Illinois.

In that letter she called for real leadership on the issue. I find that perplexing, though, given that neither I nor my colleagues in the Capitol building have heard anything from Jay on this issue other than during election seasons.

I didn’t see her at the Fair Economy Illinois rally that I spoke at two weeks ago that showcased nearly 1,000 people calling for progressive revenue solutions. I haven’t seen her in Springfield meeting with other legislators. She wasn’t standing with me and the hundreds upon hundreds of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students who marched at the Thompson Center last week calling for more funding. In fact, I haven’t seen her at any public events that are aimed at solving the state budget crisis. It begs the question – why is Jay just now talking about this issue? Waiting until it’s election season to simply write a letter to the editor about such an important issue is not “real leadership.” It’s opportunistic.

My team and I have spent months knocking on doors and speaking with constituents about the need for a progressive income tax. We organized mass phone banks and letter writing campaigns pleading the Gov. Bruce Rauner to support progressive revenue measures. We mobilized our neighbors to attend rallies with grassroots organizations from across the city. And I have personally been garnering support from legislators up and down the state for this measure – our last effort achieved dozens of co-sponsors, and included visits with editorial boards across the state.

While I welcome Jay’s support for my bill to create a progressive income tax, her letter to the editor was simply an attempt to prop up her own political campaign. The State of Illinois is facing an unprecedented crisis and now more than ever we should expect leaders to move beyond political posturing and actually roll up their sleeves and do the difficult work it takes to solve the state’s problems.

State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26)