Graduated Income Tax Bill; Proposed Changes to IL Math Requirements; Endangered Prairie Chickens

May 28, 2019
 

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, discusses the House action to put a constitutional amendment to implement Pritzker's graduated income tax on the November 2020 ballot in Springfield, Ill., Monday, May 27, 2019. Voters decide whether to eliminate Illinois' flat-rate tax system which critics claim is regressive. Rep. Robert Marwick, D-Chicago, the sponsor of the amendment which underwent nearly 3 ½ hours of debate on the House floor, looks on.

John O'Connor/AP

Illinois is one step closer to a graduated income tax. Action by state lawmakers this weekend means that the issue will be on the ballot next fall. Plus, a new bill would change math requirements for high schoolers here in Illinois. We’ll hear how students looking for a career in a trade could benefit. And, Illinois was once home to millions of prairie chickens but now there are only about 200.

Yesterday, Democrats in the Statehouse gave Gov. Pritzker a big boost toward delivering on his campaign promise to change our tax structure. In a 73-44 vote, the Illinois House approved changing our tax from its current flat rate to a graduated one.

Lawmakers weren’t the only ones busy at work over the holiday weekend, so were reporters. We were joined with Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey, and Jerry Nowicki from Capitol News Illinois.

Plus--

How much high school math do you remember? How much of it do you use on a daily basis? It probably depends on the job you have.

An Illinois bill, which is now back in the House after passing the Senate, would change the requirements for high school math here in Illinois. It would allow the geometry offered in technical education courses like carpentry or welding, to count towards the three year math requirement. Also, one of the three required years could be an AP computer science course.

Advocates say the change would give students more practical skills for a career path straight out of high school. Critics worry about losing the foundational topics that are part of a traditional geometry class.

Greg Budzban is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Luke Brooks is the principal of Pleasant Plains High School near Springfield. 

Also--

One of Illinois’ older nicknames is the Prairie State. Of course, there was a time when most of the state was actually made up of prairie grasslands. There used to be more than 20 million acres of prairie. But today, only about 2500 remains.

That steep decline is one reason why species like the prairie chicken have faced extinction for a long time. In the 1800s, there were millions of them in our state. Now, there are only about 200.

Bob Gillespie knows all about the Illinois prairie chicken. He’s the site manager at Prairie State Ridge Natural Area in Newton. Rebecca Riley is the legal director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s nature program.