Illinois Under J.B. Pritzker

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Now that Bruce Rauner is out of office, Chicago-based entrepreneur, businessman, billionaire and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Robert (J.B.) Pritzker has been elected by the citizens of Illinois to take his place. With that being said, there is a formidable percentage of people in every election who do not go out and vote for a variety of reasons.

Restrictions due to geographical location, schedule or lack of transportation, as well as apathy and selective ignorance, all prevent citizens from being able to choose who they want running their state.  

Regardless, this lack of ability to vote may accompany a lack of education about political candidates and the causes they stand for. It is important for Illinois-based students to learn who Pritzker is, what stances he takes on political issues and what changes he plans on making for the state of Illinois. Legislative changes may not affect the average citizen right away, especially in the early stages of a term; however, these changes eventually make waves in the lives of the people, impacting everything from higher education to marijuana legalization to taxes. 

According to Pritzker himself on his website (www.jbpritzker.com), changes in higher education are one of his top priorities: “I will make college more affordable by increasing financial aid and restoring funding for colleges and universities to pre-Rauner levels. I will keep more of our students in state by promoting our public colleges and universities and making sure that community college credits transfer to public universities…I will increase economic opportunities by expanding career and technical education and encouraging more entrepreneurship and innovation on campuses across the state.” 

As is expected of a typical Democratic candidate, Pritzker also claims to embody diverse groups of people that may often be overlooked or underrepresented. These include ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals. He states that he would like to “crack down” on hate crimes, and he attributes the increase of such crimes to Donald Trump’s presidency. Any and all “anti-LGBTQ+,” according to him, will be opposed. Additionally, Pritzker plans on legalizing marijuana. He claims that marijuana legalization and sports wagering are two sources of revenue that will help cover the costs of increased spending in areas such as public education. 

As opposed to the flat income tax rate Illinois has now, Pritzker intends to materialize a graduated income, or progressive tax, on the citizens in the state. He emphasizes that a person’s wage will categorize that person within a certain tax bracket that determines the percentage taken out of the money he or she earns; the more the person earns, the greater the amount of taxes paid. He would like to have less of a financial reliance on the regressive system that property taxes possess now. 

He says that he will expedite the process of U-visa certification for victims of crimes such as assault, battery, and rape. This means that people who wish to assist law enforcement in solving their respective cases may be able to do so at a more efficient rate. According to the Chicago Tribune, Pritzker intends to increase aid and healthcare for immigrants in the state. He also promises to sign a pro-immigration bill, the “Illinois Trust Act.” He states that he is pro-choice and will oppose anti-abortion legislation.

Pritzker is also in favor of net neutrality and says he will attempt to ensure that all internet traffic is treated the exact same way, regardless of the demographics of the user or the technology he or she utilizes. 

Many promises have been made by Illinois’ new governor. The hope is that Pritzker can help Illinois get out of the proverbial rut it is stuck in, but only time will tell what he actually chooses to fixate on and get done within the framework of his term. 

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