State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins’ has introduced legislation to protect vulnerable, mostly low-income consumers from exorbitant interest rates and hidden fees on Tax Refund Anticipation Loans. The push to curb these abuses comes after customers of Mo' Money Taxes, the target of a lawsuit filed today by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, complained that their checks for refund money were late, much smaller than promised or couldn't be cashed at all.

"Most taxpayers affected by these outrageous fees and interest rates are eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit," Sen. Collins said. "My colleagues and I just voted to increase the state EITC, and we want that money to go into the pockets of the working poor to spend on essential needs, not into the pockets of predatory lenders."

Sen. Collins' legislation, the Tax Refund Anticipation Loan Reform Act (SB 3523), would cap interest rates on refund anticipation loans made by payday lenders, prohibit tax preparers from charging extra fees for facilitating loans and prohibit all loans in anticipation of the state EITC.

Mo' Money Taxes is under investigation in several states. Recent problems at a Chicago location spurred the Office of the Attorney General to investigate dozens of complaints and inspired Sen. Collins to find ways to protect taxpayers in the future. Her plan requires tax preparers to disclose interest rates, any applicable fees and the fact that customers can get their refunds within 8 to 15 days directly from the IRS – without taking out a loan.

Read more: Sen. Collins Fights Predatory Tax Refund Loans

Category: Press Releases

Senator Jacqueline Collins recently joined AARP, Jane Addams Senior Caucus and the Community Renewal Society in calling on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to adopt new guidelines that increase direct nursing care for seniors in nursing homes. 

Under nursing home reforms adopted in 2010, three hours of nursing and personal care are required for residents needing the highest level of staff attention.  However, the law does not require any direct care from registered nurses.  Senator Collins and others are calling on JCAR to approve rules, proposed by the Illinois Department of Public Health, that require 20 percent of this time to be with registered nurses.

Read more: Sen. Collins Advocates for More Time with RNs for Nursing Home Residents

Category: Press Releases

Inspired by the success of dozens of cities, towns and states across the nation in preventing and addressing vacant and abandoned properties, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) is heading to Boston to participate in a unique forum where she hopes to learn from experts and develop her own effective strategies.

“As we drive down blocks all across our state there are too many properties that seem to have been vacant for far too long,” Sen. Collins said. “Increasing property values is one of the best ways to stabilize and strengthen our economy. If abandoned property becomes less prevalent in our state homeowners and business owners will have a reason to invest confidently in Illinois.”

From March 13-16, Sen. Collins will attend the second Community Progress Leadership Institute with leaders from ten communities in Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Michigan. Held at the Harvard Law School, the Leadership Institute is offered and led by the Center for Community Progress, the nation’s preeminent organization working with communities and government to forge strategies that prevent vacancy and abandonment. Participants are chosen based not only on their interest but on the capacity of their organizational diversity and alliances to apply what they learn at the Leadership Institute.

Read more: Sen. Collins Joins Leaders to Forge Plans for Revitalization

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) has introduced legislation that will allow Illinoisans to continue to play the Quality of Life scratch-off lottery game after the end of 2012. The “Red Ribbon Cash” game has raised over $2.4 million for prevention education and treatment. If Senate Bill 2971 becomes law, it will continue to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS for five additional years.

“Four years after the legislature voted to fund organizations on the front lines of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, the number of new infections has decreased nationwide, but this devastating disease is still ravaging vulnerable communities, particularly minority women,” Sen. Collins said. “The proceeds from the Quality of Life scratch-off game are helping non-profits save and prolong lives in the populations with the highest risk and we should allow these groups to continue their vital work.”

Read more: Senator Jacqueline Collins Introduces Extension of Lottery Game to Fund Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Category: Press Releases

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