Christmas is right around the corner, and once the hectic pace of the holidays subsides, Illinoisans will reflect and look forward with hope as they make resolutions for the new year. Everyone’s slate is clean on January 1. New stories can be written based on decisions people make each day.
If you could place Illinois on a better path, what changes would you resolve to make?
I dream of an Illinois where people can afford to support their families without the continuous worry of higher taxes, and of an Illinois where families are able to make their own decisions about where their children should attend school. I also dream of a safer Illinois, where criminals are held to account, and of a state where government takes care of its own before catering to those in this country illegally.
I have great hope for our state. Here are my legislative resolutions for 2024:
The U.S. Census data is clear. People are leaving Illinois in droves. The outmigration comes from business owners that are taking their businesses and jobs to other states, and from families that have had enough of their state government continually raising taxes. State government cannot and should not be everything to everyone. When a legitimate need arises, why is the solution always new taxes rather than a reordering of spending priorities? In 2024, I resolve to push for a comprehensive audit of spending, so lawmakers can ensure taxpayer resources are being channeled only toward essential services for vulnerable citizen populations, including seniors, veterans, and those living with disabilities.
Expanding School Choice Opportunities
Simply put, a child’s opportunities for educational success should not be determined by their zip code. Parents deserve choices if their child’s school is not meeting their needs, and if they cannot afford private school tuition, programs should be available to help lift these kids out of schools that are failing them. The Invest In Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program was an immensely successful program that did just that. Through private donations that did not impact the state’s education budget, low-income families were able to apply for full-tuition scholarships that allowed their kids to enter a learning environment that addressed their needs and helped them thrive. Sadly, Democrats killed that program this year. I resolve to continue working in 2024 for the reinstatement of Invest in Kids as a permanent tax credit scholarship program.
Reinstitute a Cash Bail System
In 2023, Illinois became the first state in the nation to completely eliminate cash bail. We are already seeing the negative consequences of this policy, as those who should remain behind bars pending trial no longer meet the criteria for pre-trial detention. This turnstile brand of criminal justice emboldens criminals because they know that more likely than not, they’ll be back on the streets within a few hours if they get caught committing a crime. In 2024, I resolve to continue advocating for a criminal justice system that prioritizes crime victims and Illinois families over criminals and truly holds criminals accountable for their actions.
Ban Health Care for Illegal Immigrants
Low-income Illinois citizens who require assistance from their government should not have to accept sub-par health care while hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds are being channeled toward programs for illegal immigrants. Illinois’ program that provides free health care for illegal aliens has exceeded cost estimates at every turn and could cost $1 billion this fiscal year. We must stop prioritizing non-citizens over those who live here lawfully. I resolve to be a fierce voice in 2024 when it comes to budgeting money for essential services, so budget dollars are channeled first and foremost to qualifying citizens who rely on state government for essential services.
These wishes are achievable, but they begin with every legislator taking a good, hard look in the mirror. Lawmakers must decide if their job is to improve the lives of the residents that elected them, or simply to enrich themselves. I am ready to go to work on these and other initiatives that will change Illinois’ trajectory and will work with any lawmaker, Republican or Democrat, who has a similar list of resolutions for the new year.