Forum: Stop the super PACs
February 19, 2013 10:12PM
Updated: March 21, 2013 6:49AM
The super PACs attempting to influence Illinois voters in the Feb. 26 special primary election in the 2nd Congressional District are a prime example of why unlimited outside spending has no place in our elections.
A local race that ought to be decided by 2nd District voters is being flooded with big money from outside the state. Before the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, political action committees — which open channels for outside donations to come through — could not accept donations larger than $5,000 per donor. But that decision removed those limits, leading to floods of money pouring into elections and drowning out the voices of ordinary Illinoisans.
The only way to stop this assault on our democratic principles is to overturn that Supreme Court ruling with a constitutional amendment. The Illinois Legislature can do its part by passing a resolution calling on our congressional delegation to send such an amendment to the states.
Twelve municipalities across Illinois, from Chicago to Carbondale to Kane County, have formally called on the Legislature to do this. And if the resolution passes, Illinois would be the 12th state to oppose the Citizens United decision.
If we want to live in a country that upholds the democratic principle of “one person, one vote,” we must act now to achieve the amendment.
Illinois Public Interest Research Group
Illinois must address job skills gap
We applaud Gov. Pat Quinn’s concern for the skills gap that he highlighted in his State of the State address. Over the next decade, Illinois’ economy will face a shortage of skilled individuals who have education credentials beyond a high school diploma. Without the proper training, growing industries — such as advanced manufacturing — will not have the workers that they need to grow.
From our perspective, this is an economic crisis that needs attention now — with 3 million adults in Illinois who don’t have an education beyond high school, including nearly a million who have less than a high school degree.
The Legislature and the governor have committed to taking on this crisis by establishing the 21st Century Workforce Development Fund, a skills training fund, to properly direct resources to local initiatives to advance the needs of Illinois’ businesses, communities and individuals.
A top priority of the fund is to make sure Illinois’ workers are getting the skills they need to attain the good-paying jobs that Gov. Quinn spoke about in his speech. What the governor must do is properly commit resources to the 21st Century Fund.
Even though the state budget is tight, an investment in training workers will be an investment for our future that will pay off. This is what it will take for us to make sure that “now, in our Illinois, we leave no worker behind.”
Director of government relations
Chicago Jobs Council