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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2007

Governor Blagojevich kicks off Investing in Families Bus Tour from Chicago's Navy Pier; more than 250 organizations show support for Governor's budget plan
Governor to spend week traveling Illinois to promote his plan to provide every Illinoisan with access to affordable health coverage, boost funding for education, provide property tax relief and fix an unfair tax system

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich received support from more than 250 healthcare, education, business, religious, government and labor organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people across the state as he kicked off the Investing in Families Bus Tour at a Chicago Navy Pier rally with many of those groups today.  This week, the Governor will travel Illinois to discuss how his Fiscal Year 2008 budget plan helps working families and to continue to generate support for his plan. The proposed budget includes the Illinois Covered plan to provide affordable comprehensive insurance to all Illinoisans, the Helping Kids Learn plan to invest an additional $10 billion in Illinois schools over the next four years, the Tax Fairness Plan that requires big wealthy businesses to pay their fair share and gives the middle class the relief it deserves, and a plan to address the state’s long-time pension deficit and ensure secure retirements for thousands of workers.
 
“We have a unique opportunity to fundamentally reform the way state government meets its responsibilities so that middle class and working families are at the center of what we do.  For decades, working families have shouldered more and more of the tax burden while the wealthiest corporations in our state have paid less and less. The real tragedy is that the very people carrying most of the load have been hit hardest education went under-funded, healthcare costs skyrocketed, property taxes escalated and the state’s pension debt deficit swelled,” said Gov. Blagojevich. 
 
“When I presented my budget proposal last month, I was optimistic about our chance to really change things around.  And as I stand here with so many people from such a wide range of backgrounds – who are all here to help make state government work for the people – I’m more encouraged than ever.  We’ve spent weeks talking to lawmakers and getting the legislative process started.  Now we’re reaching out to families in every corner of the state to ask for their help in making sure we don’t let this historic opportunity pass us by,” the Governor added.       
 
To date, more than 250 organizations, elected officials, and businesses throughout Illinois have supported the Governor’s Investing in Families budget.  The Governor’s Investing in Families Bus Tour, leaves from Navy Pier in Chicago today, and will stop at restaurants, businesses, schools, and rallies in Illinois cities and towns including Elgin, Rockford, Moline, Galesburg, Peoria, Avon, Quincy, Alton, Marion, Decatur, and Danville. Throughout his trip, the Governor will meet with families, visit small businesses, and rally support for an historic budget that makes record investments in working families.
 
Gov. Blagojevich’s FY08 budget proposal includes fundamental changes that will benefit the people of Illinois for generations to come.  The Governor’s Illinois Covered will ensure all 1.4 million uninsured have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and will help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands a year on healthcare costs.  The plan will also reform the existing healthcare system to improve quality and require more accountability. 
 
“As a member of the Chicago-Chapter-National Black Nurses Association, an organization made up of professional registered nurses, student nurses, and licensed practical nurses, I can say with assurance that the majority of our members understand that it is VITAL that access to affordable healthcare becomes a reality very soon in Illinois,” said Pamela J. Johnson, R.N., B.S.N. of the Chicago Chapter-National Black Nurses Association who supports the Governor’s plan.
 
“Alexian Brothers Hospital Network is happy to endorse Governor Blagojevich's Illinois Covered program that is designed to provide affordable healthcare for all,” said Kelley Clancy, VP for External Affairs for Alexian Brothers Hospital. “After embracing the Governor's All Kids program and partnering with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, we look forward to the implementation of this bold and critically important initiative."
 
“I applaud the Governor’s healthcare plan and vow to join the fight to make sure this proposal becomes a reality,” said Delores R. Richmond, Broker/Owner of Richmond GMAC Real Estate. “Small business owners and the self-employed, including the thousands of real estate firms and their independent real estate agents are forced into the individual insurance market where there is no negotiating or leverage.  The only choice realtors have is to pay whatever price is offered or to go without insurance all together.  The time is right for a change, and I thank the Governor for taking this bold move.” 
 
“As a small business owner in Illinois, I am looking forward to the future,” said John Gordon, owner of the vending company, Gordon Services. “Illinois Covered will offer me, my family, and employee’s affordable health insurance.  It is great to know that health insurance premiums will be capped and there will be protection for people with pre-existing conditions.  Group protection is important for those of us who are self employed.”
 
Also included in the budget proposal is the Governor’s Helping Kids Learn, which continues the Governor’s commitment to schools by boosting funding by an unprecedented $1.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2008.  Under the plan, general state aid to schools will increase by more than $800 million, raising the Foundation Level by $724 to $6,058.  With more funds per pupil, schools can improve textbook quality, modernize their technology, or invest in teachers.  The plan also will increase funds to hire special education teachers and fully fund “mandated categorical” programs like special education and transportation.  The plan will accelerate implementation of Preschool for All and dedicate additional resources for school districts that provide full-day kindergarten.  Underperforming school districts will get extra funds if they invest in proven strategies that raise student achievement.  And the plan will invest in a capital construction plan to replace or rebuild deteriorating schools.
 
“As a religious leader, it was good to hear the Governor’s budget proposal focus on issues that affect the members of my congregation,” said Bishop Simon Gordon of Triedstone Full Gospel Baptist Church.
 
To pay for record investments in education and healthcare, Gov. Blagojevich proposed major reforms to Illinois’ tax structure. Many large corporations pay little or nothing in corporate income taxes, and they are not paying their fair share to meet the state’s ongoing infrastructure, education, healthcare and public safety needs.  Gov. Blagojevich’s plan takes historic steps to change the Illinois tax structure – one of the most regressive and unfair to working families in the nation.  According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, 37 of the 99 ‘Fortune 100’ companies that filed taxes in Illinois paid no state income taxes, despite the fact that they averaged $1.2 billion in sales during 2004.  On average, 48 percent of corporations that generated $50 million or more in annual sales in Illinois paid no income taxes from 1997 through 2004.
 
The Governor’s Tax Fairness plan implements a Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) that has been embraced by many economists because of its broad base and low rates.  States including Washington, Delaware and Hawaii have had a GRT for years, and, recently, Ohio and Texas have adopted a form of the tax.  The GRT will only apply to businesses that make more than $2 million each year, which means 85 percent of all businesses in Illinois will be exempt.  The GRT will tax service industries at a low 1.95 percent rate, while manufacturers, construction, retail and wholesale companies will be taxed at a lower .85 percent.  Exports will not be taxed.  The plan also mitigates costs being passed on to consumers by excluding certain goods, such as retail food and pharmaceuticals.
 
The Governor’s budget also addresses the State of Illinois’ increasing pension obligation – the state’s most pressing structural deficit challenge.  Thirty years of under-funding the state employee pension system, combined with passing billions of dollars in unfunded pension sweeteners, has created the largest state pension debt in the nation.  Gov. Blagojevich laid out a landmark plan that would use the proceeds from a long-term lease the Illinois State Lottery to provide an immediate infusion of at least $10 billion into the state’s pension system.  He also proposed issuing $16 billion in pension obligation bonds that will help put the system on stronger fiscal footing.  Altogether, the Governor’s plan will save more than $60 billion between now and 2045. 
 
The following organizations, elected officials, and businesses throughout Illinois have supported the Governor’s Investing in Families budget:
 
1st District Solutions Group Services, NFP
A.W. McCall
Access Community Health Network
Advance Health, Social and Educational Associates, Inc (AHSEA)
Advocate Health Care
AIDS Care
Alan Pirtle, Monroe County Democratic Central Committee
Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital
Alexian Brothers Medical Center
Alivio Medical Center
Alternative Schools Network
Asian Health Coalition of Illinois
Asian Human Services
Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council
Barry's American Cycles
Betty Lasater, Clerk; Village of Broughton
Bill Dewitt, Mayor; City of Hoopeston
Bill Taylor, Treasurer; Perry County
Billie's Pastries
Bits and Bytes Training Institute
Bob Lorinshas, Chair; Jackson County
Bob's Blacktop Inc.
Bob's Carton Art
Boys and Girls Club of Pekin
Brenda Bostic, Clerk; Danville Township Vermillion County
Brothers Keeper
Bruce Block, Mayor; City of Broadlands
Cambodian Association of Illinois
Campaign for Better Health Care
CarePoint Adult, Child and Family Association
Carl Whipple, Mayor; Village of Norris City
Carole Robertson Center for Learning
Centro San Bonifacio
Century 21, Country North Inc
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
Chicago Area HIV/AIDS Caucus
Chicago Area Project
Chicago Black United Communities
Chicago Chapter-National Black Nurses Association
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition
Child Abuse Council
Children’s Home and Children’s Foundation
Christ Tabernacle Baptist Church/New City
Christian Center of Hope Church
Christian Community Health Center
Chuck White, Board Member; Vermillion County Board
Chuck Whites Signs and Designs
Church of the Cross
Church Women United
Circles of Learning
Clemente Student Health Center
Communications Workers of America Local 4217
Community Mental Health Council
Cook County College Teachers Union Local 1600
Courage Program
Cross Cuts
C-U Pet Sitting Service
D & L Surplus Specialties
D. Closet Clothing
D.L.M. Manufacturing Inc
Daisy Woodard, Trustee; Danville Township Vermillion County
Dave Dobill, County Clerk; Franklin County
Dave's Barber Shop
David Phillips, Mayor; City of Tilton
Davis Research
Debbie's Diner
Diana Robinson, Rock Island County Auditor
DNT CAD Solutions
Donald Sandridge, Mayor; Mayor of Alton
Doug Aurand, Township Supervisor; Harlem Township
Douglas County Democrats
Drexler Drugs
E.F. Ghoughan and Associates, Inc
Edward Hagnauer, Mayor; City of Granity City
El Hogar del Nino
El Valor
Elders Eden LLC
Erie Family Health Center
First Step for Kids
First Step for Learning, Inc.
Florist of East St. Louis
Frank Bergman, Mayor; Village of Cahokia
Fred Bright, Mayor; City of East Alton
Galesburg Cottage Hospital
Gary Bartalotti, Mayor; Christopher Township
George Washington Carver Association
Gordon Services
Greater Westside Development Corporation
Gregory J. Springer, Regional Superintendent; Christian-Montogomery ROE #10
Haitian American Voters Participation
Health and Disability Advocates
Healthcare Alternative Systems
Healthcare Consortium of Illinois
Healthy Family Lifestyles
Henry County Health Department
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Holy House of Prayer
HomeSpec West  Inc.
Howard Area Alternative High School
Howard Area Community Center
Human Resources Development Institute
IBEW 197
IL Latino Resource Institute
Illinois Action for Children
Illinois African American Coalition For Prevention
Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children
Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers
Illinois Eduation Association
Illinois Federation of Teachers
Illinois Hospital Association
Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition
Illinois Planned Parenthood
Illinois Public Health Association
Illinois Society for Advance Practice Nurses
Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce
Institute for Human Resources
Introspect Youth Services, Inc
Iroquois Mental Health Association
Ivadale Foster, Board Member; Vermillion County Board
James Booker, Board Chairman; Perry County Board
James Epplin, Board Member; Perry County Board
Javon's Barber Shop
JLS Enterprises of the Quad Cities
Joe D. Ruphord, President; Village of Broughton
John Evans, Board Chairman; Jackson County
Jones E. Dyson, Mayor; Village of Hopkins Park
Jo-Ray House, Inc.
Joshway Harding Real Estate
Karl Maple, Board Member; Jackson County
Kaye Boyer, Carroll Township Supervisor
Kenneth Short, Road Commissioner; Mayberry Township
Kevin Kern, County Clerk; Perry County
Kingdom Come Ministries
Kyle Anderson, Councilman; City of Wood River
Laborers Local 477
Laborers Local No. 165
Lake County Health Dept. Health Center
Lao American Community Services
Larry Davis, Board Member; Vermillion County Board
Larry Reinhardt, County Clerk; Jackson County
Latino Social Magazine
Latter Rain Life Changes Ministries
Laura Lee Fellowship House
LaVoz Latina
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
LET'S TALK
Lincoln Community Training and Cultural Center
Lloyd Carter, Board Member; Champaign County Board
Local 150 Operating Engineers
Local 974, Caterpillar
Loretto Hospital
Louise Kerr, Treasurer; Rock Island County
Lynn Foster, Clerk; Vermillion County Clerk
Macon County Democrats
Main St. Church of God
Margie Mejia-Caraballo, 5th Ward Alderman; Rock Island
Martial Art School
Matt Melucci, Circuit Clerk; Third Judicial Circuit Madison County
MDC Community & Economic Development Corporation
Mental Health Association of Illinois Valley
Mercy Hospital
Mighty God Tabernacle Academy
Mike Duffy, Superintendent; South Beloit
Mike Simpson, Supervisor; Mayberry Township
Miracle Temple Faith Church
MRI Images of West Chicago
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Mt. Sinai Medical Center
Mt. Vermillion Baptist Church
Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Mt. Zion Baptist Church/Metec
Mujeres Latinas en Accion
N.I. BCC&Global Staffing Service
NAACP Springfield Branch
National Black Nurses Association
Neumann Association
New Directions Treatment Center
New Frontier Barbershop
New Hope Church
New Hope International Ministries
New Horizon Organization
New Life Church Of Faith
New Shining Light Church
North Central Behavioral Health System
Northwest Austin Council
Northwest Community Center
Norwegian American Hospital
Oliver Emerson Dev. And E and M Homes Inc
One Family One Child/ AMC Church
Open Door Clinic
Orick Nightlinger, Board Member; Vermillion County Board
Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center
Patsy Simpson, Trustee; Village of Broughton
PCC Community Wellness Center
Penny Holycross, Georgetown Township Supervisor
Peoria County Democratic Chairman
Personal Touch Boutique
Pet Celebrations
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 23
Polish American Association
Positive Image Society
Power of Change Christian Center
Praise Tabernacle Baptist Church
Project Success of Vermillion County
Project VIDA
Property Maintenance, Inc.
Real Men Cook
Reasonable Service
Recovery 2000, Inc
Repairer of the Breach Ministry
Restoration M.B. Church/Operation Restoration Development Center
Resurrection Holy Family Medical Center
Resurrection Medical Center
Resurrection Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
Resurrection St. Francis Hospital
Resurrection St. Joseph Hospital
Resurrection West Lake Hospital
Resurrection West Suburban Medical Center
Richmond GMAC Real Estate
Rising Sun MIB Church
Robert Baker, Trustee; Village of Broughton
Robert Donaldson, Mayor; Village of Hazel Crest
Robert J. Hertz, Sheriff; Madison County
Robin Edwards, Supervisor of Assessments; Perry County
Rock Island County Democratic Party
Rockford Education Association
Rockford Human Svc Department
Rockford Memorial Hospital
Roger Boen, Danville Township Supervisor
Rosecrance Health Network
S & B Manufacturing
Sanad
Sankofa Safe Child Initiative
Schwab Rehabilitation Center
SCIL
Scott Ivory, Board Member; Brooklyn Unit District 188
Seguin Services
Shara Levy Project Management
Sheila Hill, EEO; Winnebago County
Shirley Dill Booker, Treasurer; Jackson County
Sophisticated Gents Menswear
South Austin Coalition
South Side Help Center
South Side Office of Concern
Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation
Southside Health Association
Southwest Illinois College
Southwestern Illinois Development Authority
Springfield Supportive Living
Springfield Urban League
St. Alexius Medical Center
St. Bernard Hospital
St. Clair County Black Chamber of Commerce
St. James Hospital and Health Centers
St. John A.M.E. Church
Stark County Citizens Mental Health Taskforce
Steve Pannell, Mayor; City of Park City
Steven P. Nonn, Coroner; Madison County
Sue Brown, Board Member; Madison County Board
Susan B. Komen For the Cure
Susan Miller, Clerk; Vermillion County Circuit Clerk
Swedish Covenant Hospital
Sweet Pea's Restaurant
T.D. McNut Ministries International Kingdom Builders Prophetic Deliverance Ministries
Teresa's Tasty Produce
The Gift House Inc
The Joshua M.B Church
The Lively Stone
The Olive Branch, Inc.
Total Resource Community Development Organization (TRCDO)
Tri County Special Ed. Assn.
Triedstone Church/Total Resource CDO
UAW Local No 165
Unifying the Body of Christ
United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters
United Congregations of the Metro East
Urban Innovations
US Sonet
USAG-Heidelberg
USW Local 7452
Vermillion County Mental Health Board
Victory Christian Assembly Church
Vietnamese Association of Illinois
Vision House Inc.
W Chen Consulting
Walls CILA Services United, Inc
Wellness to Work
Western County Title Search  Inc.
Westside Association for Community Action
Willie McClusky, Saline County Clerk & Dem. County Chairman
Winnebago County Retired Teachers Association
Winstein & Kavensky
Woosley Mowing
Word Made Flesh Worship Center
Your Family Resource Connection
YouthBuild McLean County


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