13 May 2014
AFSCME Sub-chapter 161
We will meet again at Ruby Tuesdays Restaurant at 5203 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Il., on Wednesday, May 21st. The meeting starts at 11 AM.
Our guest speaker is Ms. Amanda Kass from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Ms. Kass’s qualifications are described below. I’ve asked her to breakdown the causes and consequences of Illinois’ chronic structural deficit. Some might feel that this is like asking the impressions of the Titanic’s lookout. It isn’t. Like the huge mass of the iceberg that is beneath the sea, the consequences of not reversing the state’s revenue shortage aren’t clearly obvious. But the damage will be widespread and generational.
I have asked Ms. Kass to educate us in order to have a consensus on just what the problem is and the work we have to do to help solve it. Before you make any call to a legislator, visit a district office, or attend a Town Hall meeting you’ll need the authority and conviction of her knowledge. The CBTA is a trusted source for budgetary advice by Springfield leaders and lawmakers. It should be ours as well. I think that her information can be used by our organized members in future actions. It can save not only our pensions and benefits, but our families’ futures as well.
In a past letter, I wrote the following:
“If politics is the art of the possible, then grassroots community action is required to create a basis for new political possibilities. We will have to build the required power to get reform in Illinois. No one will give it to us. We’ll have to fight for it, then use it. Doing nothing isn’t an option. The legislature will cut our pensions, benefits, and needed services because of money. Illinois has a debt problem because the legislators never dealt with the structural revenue problem. Our job is solving that problem.”
Charles Hogan, President
Amanda Kass is Budget Director and Pension Specialist for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability where she focuses on the fiscal and economic effects of budgets and tax policy. Amanda is responsible for analyzing how state budget decisions affect taxpayers, families and communities. She helps develop policy proposals to enhance fiscal sustainability, equity, and accountability. She is also responsible for CTBA’s infographics and mapping. Since joining CTBA, Amanda has served on the advisory board for the IMN – Midwest Public Funds Summit and on the steering committee for Participatory Budgeting Chicago and represents the organization with the media and the public.
Amanda completed an MA in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her master’s thesis focused on post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti, which underscored the importance of fiscal policy in ensuring the public sector has the capacity to deliver crucial services. Before graduate school, she was a Geographic Information Systems Analyst for Stantec Consulting Services, an engineering consulting firm in Columbus, OH. Amanda obtained her BA from Ohio State University where she double-majored in International Studies and Geography.