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March 10, 2014

Local chapters of the League of Women Voters Illinois in both Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties are sponsoring a speaking tour for Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) Chicago.

Martire will present a data-driven and evidence-based description of how Illinois has dug itself into its current deep fiscal hole. He will describe what the voters of Illinois can do and support to get Illinois back on track.

At 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Martire will make a presentation open to the public at the West Campus of Highland Community College, 300 North West St, Elizabeth. At 7 p.m. he will make the same presentation, also open to the public, at Highland Community College, (Newell Room, H-201 in the Student/Conference Center) in Freeport. Audience members will be able to ask questions after each presentation as time permits.

The League of Women Voters Illinois supports pending legislation in Springfield for a constitutional amendment on a fair tax allowing for higher rates on higher incomes and lower rates on lower incomes rather than the flat tax now imposed by Illinois’ Constitution. In one part of Martire’s presentation, he will address how and why this amendment could bring fairness to Illinois’ tax code, help grow our state economy and contribute to the state’s financial stability.

In addition to being CTBA’s executive director, Ralph Martire has taught fiscal policy seminars for various universities. He serves as technical adviser to Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board’s Advisory Committee, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and the Bipartisan, Bicameral Illinois Education Caucus, as well as legislators on both sides of the aisle on issues ranging from education funding and policy reform, to tax and budget policy, to workforce and economic development policy. In February 2011, he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission to examine the impact of school finance on educational opportunity and to recommend ways school finance can be improved to increase equity and achievement.

For more information, call LWV presidents Bonnie Cox in Jo Daviess County (815-777-9282) or Sally Spudich in Stephenson County (815-232-7988).