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Last week as the state turned its attention to Springfield, a small group of new legislators brought some new blood to the Capitol while our state continued to sink further into budget limbo.

For the last 7 months, the Families First, Banks Last campaign has been asking, why does the state continue to prioritize paying millions of dollars every month to Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase in profit payments, instead of making good on payments that would keep critical institutions and services open and support Illinois families?

As the budget impasse continues – the entire family unit is being impacted. Parents can’t go to work or school because of childcare cuts. Grandparents and family members with disabilities can’t get the in-home care they need to be able to live independently. Families impacted by homelessness or domestic violence can’t access the services they need to survive. Students preparing to go to college are left holding the bag without access to MAP grants.

Meanwhile, Illinois has already paid out over $800 Million dollars to big Wall St. banks, on a set of predatory bank deals called interest rate swaps.

As we enter the new year and a new session of the General Assembly, there is hope that freshman legislators, along with their colleagues, and new Comptroller Susana Mendoza will hold Wall Street banks accountable. Springfield can put the old business as usual of putting Wall St. banks first over the needs of Illinois families in the past. Along with passing a full budget, prioritizing payments to the services and institutions that serve Illinois families over payments to Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase is the lifeline Illinois families need right now.