Why Are There So Few Black Men in Medicine; Sports Betting in IL; The Politics Of A “Fair Tax”

March 04, 2019
 

Dr. Don Arnold, Chief of Surgery at Herrin Hospital

Benjy Jeffords/WSIU

On The 21st: Last year, fewer than 4 percent of incoming medical students in Illinois were black men. What’s behind that and what should be done about it? Plus, states are getting ready to make their own rules when it comes to sports betting. Here in Illinois, both Democrats and Republicans say it’s time to get in on this growing market. And, Governor JB Pritzker wants to change our state’s income tax so that higher-earners pay more. It’ll take a constitutional amendment and it’s going to be a long political fight.

Last year, there were just 178 black men in medical school in Illinois. That's out of more than 4,800 students. That number can be surprising on the surface, but it could also have more serious health implications for all African-American men. The path to medicine comes with many obstacles, and some students don’t get the support they need beforehand. Even if they do, financial support may be limited, and going to medical school is incredibly expensive. 

We're joined by Stephanie Whiteside who has been reporting on this for Illinois Newsroom. She’s also a reporter for WSIU Radio in Carbondale. We also talk to Dr. Don Arnold, Chief of Surgery at Herrin Hospital located outside of Carbondale. Also weighing in on the conversation is Don Patton, a recruiter for the MEDPREP program at Southern Illinois University Medicine. MEDPREP works towards recruiting more people of color into the health professions in Illinois.

And -

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down a law that banned sports betting in most states. Today that means that each state has the authority to decide whether or not it wants to make this legal, and Illinois could soon be on that path. In his budget address, Governor JB Pritzker said he wants Illinois to get in on this new market before other states get there first. In fact, his own budget assumes that legal sports betting will bring in $200 million for the state. So is all this good for the state as a whole?

We talk to economists Bob Bruno and Frank Manzo. Bob is the director of the University of Illinois’ Labor Education Program. Frank directs the Illinois Economic Policy report, and together they’ve been researching the possible effects of legalized sports gambling. We're also joined WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Stout. She tells us more about how sports betting will affect the games themselves. 

Plus -

Only eight states in the country have a flat income tax, and Illinois is one of them. Regardless of how much or little you make, your income tax rate is 4.95 percent. Our new governor, JB Pritzker, campaigned on changing the income tax rate so that higher earners would pay more. But our flat tax is written into our state’s constitution, which means that changing it will take a lot of time, money, and political will. That didn’t stop Governor Pritzker from doubling down on this promise as he delivered his first budget address last month. If this is the next big political debate in Illinois, what should we expect to see in the coming months?

We speak to Rick Pearson, a political reporter with the Chicago Tribune and John Jackson, the director of the Paul Simon Institute for Public Policy at Southern Illinois University.