With Illinois in a state of financial insolvency, millions of residents are at risk of losing the health care, education, public safety, and long term care they depend on. AARP Illinois recently announced its legislative priorities for 2010, and the top priority includes urging state leaders to avoid a catastrophe by adopting a budget that provides sufficient new revenue to pay for and protect critical programs and services.
With the help of volunteers across the state, AARP will be working hard to ensure that the Governor and General Assembly adopt a fiscally responsible budget, including comprehensive tax reform the provides sufficient revenue to pay for state priorities, generates savings, fosters economic growth, and restores fiscal stability. AARP will also build upon the 2009 success of the Change Illinois! coalition to expand the campaign finance reform, and examine the issue of legislative district reapportionment as the Census 2010 gets underway.
AARP Illinois will also continue efforts to fight unfair utility rate increases and to ensure fair consumer representation at the Illinois Commerce Commission. With the state’s budget problems, protecting funding for critical programs that serve older Illinoisans, including home and community-based services, will be essential and AARP will also be working with the Governor’s Nursing Home Task Force to address quality of care and safety concerns in the state’s private nursing homes.
Building on the success of the 2009 Health Carrier External Review Act (PA-96-0857) which helps bring transparency to the health insurance industry in Illinois, AARP will continue to fight for health insurance reform on the state level.
AARP will also be working to pass legislation that strengthens current regulations against abusive payday lenders who charge upwards of 700% interest on short-term loans and take advantage of those who can least afford those interest rates.
Finally, AARP has backed two bills – HB5047 and SB2640 – that will repeal an existing law, called the Social Security Unemployment Offset law, that reduces unemployment insurance benefits for older workers who receive Social Security. Currently in Illinois, if you receive Social Security and become eligible for unemployment, your unemployment benefit will be reduced by an amount equal to one-half of your Social Security benefit. Illinois is one of only three states in the nation that have not taken repeal action on this discriminatory law.
AARP has set up the Social Security Unemployment Offset Hotline – 1-800-664-9903 – and is urging members and the public to call this number and tell their legislators to repeal the offset law.