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Governor Quinn Encourages Working Families to Apply for Earned Income Tax Credit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Erin Wilson   
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 13:15

Newly-Doubled Tax Credit Puts More Money in the Pockets of
Working Families

CHICAGO – February 16, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged working families across Illinois to learn about how they can apply for newly-expanded tax relief and highlighted no-cost tax preparation services they should take advantage of. The governor continued his drive to get the word out about Illinois’ newly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) at Truman College, which serves as a tax assistance center organized by the Center for Economic Progress (CEP).

Governor Quinn fought for and signed legislation in 2012 that doubles the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) over the next two years, which is expected to save working families an extra $105 million a year. The same legislation also benefits all taxpayers by improving the value of the personal exemption by indexing it to inflation. Today’s event is part of the governor’s effort to drive economic growth and support working families across Illinois.

“Empowering working families is essential to growing the Illinois economy,” Governor Quinn said. “We want to make sure to get the word out about how eligible people can apply for the tax relief they deserve.”

The EITC is uniquely pro-growth and pro-family. Available only to workers who are earning income, this tax credit provides incentive to work as well as much-needed tax relief to the lowest-income families. The EITC also generates local economic growth by increasing consumer spending. A 2006 Brookings Institution study found that every dollar a family saves through this tax credit translates into $1.58 of activity in local economies and can help businesses avoid layoffs, hire employees and pave the way for future growth.

The law also improves the value of the standard personal exemption for all taxpayers in Illinois and ties its continued growth to the rate of inflation. The personal exemption will increase by $50 (to $2,050) in tax year 2012, and the value of the exemption will be indexed to the cost of living adjustment each tax year thereafter. The personal exemption change benefits all taxpayers, regardless of income.

Governor Quinn launched EITC.illinois.gov last month to help more eligible families receive tax relief and take advantage of tax preparation assistance.

How to Benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

To benefit from Illinois’ EITC, also known as the Earned Income Credit (EIC), taxpayers must include it on their tax returns. The not-for-profit Center for Economic Progress (CEP) estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of eligible taxpayers did not file for EITC last year.

To help working families achieve the maximum savings on their taxes, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) partners with the Center for Economic Tax Counseling Project to provide free tax preparation assistance at tax assistance centers across the state. The services are provided free of charge to families making less than $50,000 annually and to individuals with yearly incomes under $25,000. More than 25,000 Illinois taxpayers filed returns through the program in the 2011 tax season, with more than $45 million in state and federal tax refunds returned to clients.

DHS also funds the Tax Assistance Program (TAP) which has nearly 20 locations in Chicago and the suburbs. TAP recruits tax professionals to volunteer to assist low-income families. DHS also works with its clients and those who found jobs and have left DHS programs to educate them about tax preparation programs and ways to ensure they receive the maximum refund on their tax returns.

A list of locations across the state that offer free tax assistance to eligible individuals is attached.

For more information on the Tax Counseling Project, contact the Center for Economic Progress in Chicago at 312-630-0273, or call the toll-free statewide number at 888-827-8511. For information on the Tax Assistance Program call 312-409-1555 or 312-409-4318 (Spanish). Details are also available on the DHS website at www.dhs.state.il.us and the Department of Revenue website at www.revenue.state.il.us.

Information about filing federal taxes online can be found at www.irs.gov.

 

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Cutting Congress' Pay PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Congressman Dave Loebsack   
Friday, 15 February 2013 15:38
At a time when our economy continues to struggle and we face an unsustainable debt, it is more important than ever to hold Washington accountable.  Yet while far too many Iowa families are struggling like mine did when I was growing up, Members of Congress have not seen a pay cut since the Great Depression.  This is simply unacceptable.

That is why I authored the Congressional Halt in Pay Increases (CHIP IN) and Cut Congressional Pay Act.  This initiative would cut Members of Congress’ pay by 10 percent.  It would also repeal the automatic pay increases that currently take place unless Congress votes to stop them.  In these difficult times, it is unacceptable that Members of Congress can automatically receive a pay raise while Iowans continue to struggle and Washington is gridlocked. 

I have long advocated for reforms to force Congress to get its work done and to hold Washington accountable.  That is why I’m fighting to end the pay system that has prevented any cut in Congressional pay since 1933 – eight decades ago. 

I will always fight for Iowans and will continue to work to create jobs, get the economy moving, and reduce the deficit.  There is no better place to start than with Members of Congress’ own pocketbooks.

 
Loebsack: Congress is Once Again Skipping Town at Expense of Iowans PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Friday, 15 February 2013 15:25

House Republicans vote to go on nine day recess despite threat of sequester

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today expressed dismay that House leadership will allow Congress to go into recess for nine days with the threat of across the board, arbitrary cuts known as sequestration set to begin on March 1st.  This recess leaves only four legislative days to try and find a way to stop these devastating cuts.  Loebsack continues to express his opposition to letting the automatic, across the board spending cuts contained in sequestration take effect.

“It is unconscionable that Congress is taking an undeserved week-long recess when the deadline to avert sequestration is only 14 days away.  I have called on Congressional leadership for months to get to work on finding a solution to stop these arbitrary, across the board cuts,” wrote Loebsack in a letter to Congressional leaders. “There is no reason for Congress to not remain in Washington and work toward a solution.  Iowans expect Congress to work on their behalf, not skip town instead of making the tough decisions needed to avert the real life consequences sequestration will have on the economy, Iowans, and people across the country.  I urge you to keep Congress in session and get to work.”

A copy of the full letter can be found here.

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Governor Pat Quinn Issues Statement on Fifth Anniversary of NIU Tragedy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Friday, 15 February 2013 14:16

DEKALB – February 14, 2013. On the fifth anniversary of the tragic shooting at Northern Illinois University, Governor Pat Quinn today attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Cole Hall in memory of each of the five lives lost. In 2010, the governor dedicated $8 million through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program to repurpose and renovate Cole Hall following the tragedy.

Following today's ceremony, Governor Quinn issued the below statement:

“Five years ago we lost five innocent souls in a tragedy that shook our state and our nation. That dark day was full of sadness, fear and despair and we will never forget it.

“But the day after, and every day since, has been filled with hope, strength and compassion. The NIU family came together to mourn those we have lost by celebrating what they brought to our lives.

“We repurposed Cole Hall to ensure it will be a place of learning and achievement for thousands of students for years to come. By supporting each other in good times and bad, we made our community stronger. 

“Today we honor Catalina Garcia, Daniel Parmenter, Gayle Dubowski, Julianna Gehant and Ryanne Mace. May God rest their immortal souls.”

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Quad Cities Interfaith February Newsletter PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by QC Interfaith   
Friday, 15 February 2013 13:45

"Dream for All" Prayer Vigil" For Action on Immigration Reform

55 people gathered in front of the Irish Memorial in Davenport on February 6th to call on Congress and President Obama to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The vigil was the kick off to the Dream for All campaign of the Gamaliel Foundation, and similar events were held in 17 states calling on comprehensive and compassionate reform. 

"The Legalization of undocumented immigrants living in the United States must be a just and fair process; efficient and quick; and as one undergoes this process, the person's civil, human and labor rights should be protected; the process should include a clear path to legal citizenship," Elaine Kresse of member congregation, Unitarian Universalist congregation of the Quad Cities said. Kresse went on to say, "..We call on President Obama to stop the separation of families by halting the deportation of non-criminal immigrant workers and call for an administrative moratorium on work-place raids."

Margie Mejia- Caraballo, Chair of the QCI immigration task force from the Spanish Mennonite congregation Moline,  also spoke at the prayer vigil. "People of faith, community and business leaders are coming together today across the country to call for swift action, a departure from politics-as-usual, and for leadership in enacting just and compassionate immigration reform. The time for reform is now," Mejia-Caraballo. 

This Prayer Vigil kicked off the "Dream for All" Campaign. This campaign will focus on individual rights, family unity, labor rights, and correcting our present unfair immigration process. Immigration reform must also focus on the fundamental principle of protecting individual rights as well as the sanctity of the family unit that is often broken due to deportation. 


55 individuals gathered by the Irish Memorial for the prayer vigil


Strategic Planning Meeting


QCI is beginning a strategic planning process for 2013-14. Our initial gathering will be Saturday, February 9th from 8 am -2 pm. We encourage all QCI member organization to have at least one representative there to ensure that your perspective is heard. Help us chart our course so we may take advantage of all the powerful opportunities that are coming are way. The session will be facilitated by Sam Finkelstein of the Gamaliel Foundation. Our allies, supporters and other interested parties are all welcome to join us. We will be serving a light breakfast as well as a lunch. We need all those planning to attend this meeting to RSVP to the QCI office by February 8th. Breakfast is at 8:00 am and the session starts promptly at 8:30 am.

8:00 am to 2:00 pm at Church of Peace, UCC -  1114 12th Street , Rock Island. 12th Avenue and 12th Streets



QCI Trivia Night Fundraiser!


Quad Cities Interfaith Trivia Night Benefit will be on Saturday, March  2nd, 2013 at the Knights of Columbus (Downstairs).The location is 1111 W. 35th Street Davenport.    Doors open at 6:30 pm, Game starts at 7 pm. Bring your own food. ALL beverages must be purchased there. $10 per person, tables of 8. Gather your team and join us for fun and fundraising! 50/50 raffle, basket prizes, mulligans! Tables are limited so reserve your table now. Call QCI 563-322-4910.

What's New at QCI

Fire of Faith - A movement to Rekindle Our Congregations!

Quad Cities Interfaith is leading a Fire of Faith campaign for 2013  to support building strong congregations by developing a local Fire of Faith Cohort of 6-7 congregations that walk together on a year long journey of congregational development and strengthening .

Through this Cohort QCI will help lay leaders and clergy assess and identify the needs of a congregation and work to develop leaders for the congregation's ministries. The FOF Cohort will meet and receive training, intensive technical assistance and mentoring . This cohort of congregations will journey together, but each member congregation in the cohort will develop and work on their individual plans.

The purpose of QCI and Congregational Based Organizing, is to identify and develop lay leadership in a cohesive and active congregation so they can fully proclaim their faith in the public sphere, increase membership and engagement and create long term sustainability. Using the arts, attitudes and disciplines of the faith based community organizing, Fire of Faith will strengthen a congregation in ways that are measurable to that congregation. While often it is community issue work that draws and keeps a congregation engaged in QCI, this Fire of Faith process focuses in on what a congregation can do using our tools to build their congregation and make sure they are growing and building community. When congregations are strong , QCI is strong. Curious? Interested in learning more about this process? Call Leslie Kilgannon at 563.322.4910. The Cohort invites interested congregation to a Fire of Faith Mini Retreat on Saturday, Feb 23rd 8am -12 noon- FREE . Location TBA. Call QCI .


Please Consider Becoming a Sustaining Donor!

We are trying to diversify our funding. To do this, the breakfast kicked off the individual sustaining donor campaign. The goal is to get 200 individuals donating at least $20 a month.  Any contributions to Quad Cities Interfaith are an investment in the work for justice in our community. Your tax-deductible donation is essential to our future and the work for justice. Making a monthly (or an annual) sustaining donation is easy and convenient through VANCO services on our website. You are able to make a secure payment using your credit or debit card. Sustaining donors make an on-going contribution. Each month or year you will be charged the same amount. You can also decide to stop or change your contribution at any time.

Ready to Become a Sustaining Donor?

It’s Simple with these Step by Step Instructions
1.) Visit our website at www.qcinterfaith.org
2.) On the top right hand side of the site, click on donate now
3.) You will be taken to a secured website provided by VANCO Services to the Online Donation Page which has our logo
4.) Go to Donations
Enter the dollar amount you wish to contribute.
Donation Frequency: Identify how often you will be giving i.e weekly, monthly, one time gift
Donation Start Date: Identify the date you want a withdrawal to begin or to be made
5.) Click on Continue
Fill out donation information including how you would like to pay, your name and address, etc.
Review the information carefully
Make sure you click on process
6.) Confirmation. A confirmation page comes up with a thank you, confirming the donation and a confirmation number.
You can print off a receipt of your donation for your records.
It is recommended that you create a profile so that the system remembers you and you can log in and make changes, etc.

QCI Issue Updates

Transportation and Jobs Equity


The task force met this month to lay out a plan for 2013. Along with continuing our goal of ensuring equitable access to work force hours for minorities, women, low income persons for the rail project, the task force is exploring ways to to address the issue of job preparedness and pre-apprenticeship for members of our community. Representatives from area school systems, the Rock Island County and Davenport NAACP branches, community groups and clergy,  met to plan what this job preparedness program will look like. Leadership on this issue has come from a invitation made by St. John's Lutheran Church, Rock Island, to address systemic issues around pre-apprenticeship opportunities and job preparedness for minorities and low income persons. Thank you for  your leadership, St. John's! The task force believes that the faith community has an important role to play in 1)  identifying candidates for job prep programs and 2.) providing  lay leaders to serve as mentors for people looking to train to find good paying jobs. Place call the QCI office if you are interested in getting involved and check the website for our next meeting date! www.qcinterfaith.org


Health Equity

Imagine this situation:  Your six-year-old child has a fever and a sore throat.  You’re worried, so you take him to the doctor. You say, “I notice he talks little.  Little by little and he has difficulty eating and swallowing.”  The doctor asks you, “Does he have a sore throat?” Pretty straightforward, right?

But now imagine the same situation when your first language isn't English, and you have to bring someone, in this case a family friend, to interpret for you, and this is how the friend translates what you told the doctor:  “She says he is talking like, like lazy, whatever he says all the time, and plus he is not eating at all.”  Then, when the doctor asks about the sore throat, your no doubt well-meaning friend keeps interrupting and doesn't let you answer the question.
Research is starting to show that medical communication problems caused by language barriers are not only distressing, they are also potentially dangerous.
Medical interpretation and translation are key health care services in reducing health disparities.  There are many other issues of disparity, of course: geography, ethnicity, physical and mental limitations, but the disparities caused by language services in our communities are the current focus of the QCI Health Equity Task Force.

Our next meeting is in Tuesday, February 19th at 4:30pm at the QCI office -111 E. 3rd Street Davenport Suite 423.  We will be refining our plans for 2013.  Please join us.  We hope to have at least one representative from every congregational member of QCI as we address the challenges of improving health equity in the Quad Cities! If your congregation would like more information, please contact QCI at 563.322.4910.


Immigration

The immigration task force is working on more actions relate to the push for comprehensive immigration reform.  Immigration meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Harrison Street, Davenport Village Inn.


Education Equity


QCI is in the process of developing a round table on education and is looking for clergy and community leaders to join together to establish round table that will identify and advance local issues and connect to regional and national education  issues. If  you are interested please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . QCI staff is looking to connect with the Gamaliel Education Equity Task Force and will schedule a first meeting in February - watch this space.

Thursday, February 7th @ 1:00 pm

2013 Gamaliel National Training.........
Teaching ordinary citizens to unleash the power within themselves

February 24-March 2 (7-day): Villa Maria, PA
July 14-20 (7-Day): Mundelein, IL
November 11-17 (7-Day): Western Region
National Clergy/Team Training April 24-26: St. Mary's, Mundelein, IL
Strategic Campaign Training June 10-14: Gallaudet University, Washington DC
Gamaliel Leadership Retreat June 2013


Tuesday, February 12th - 6:30 pm 

QCI Leadership Assembly

St Mary's Church , 516 Fillmore, Davenport

 
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