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Clean Energy Jobs Act Would Aid in COVID Recovery, Providing Thousands of Jobs in  Communities Across Illinois Without Raising Taxes or Electric Bills

Chicago — A new poll shows that 82% of Illinois voters support the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), the comprehensive clean energy legislation that would move the state to 100% renewable energy and create thousands of good-paying jobs at a time when people and communities need them the most.

“Even without explaining the details of the bill, 82% of Illinoisans support the Clean Energy Jobs Act because they know clean energy is essential to putting thousands of people who have permanently lost their jobs back to work — we can no longer wait to act on climate change,” said Rep. Ann Williams, CEJA House sponsor.

The poll, released by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and conducted by the Global Strategy Group, surveyed Illinois residents from May 18-21 on their support for CEJA. The clean energy legislation would also electrify the mass transit and transportation sector, cut carbon from the power sector and require that thousands of clean energy jobs created by the bill be prioritized in disadvantaged communities and communities that have sustained coal plant closures. The bill has 55 sponsors in the state House and 31 sponsors in the Senate.

“We must address climate change and economic recovery now, that’s why 74% of voters want to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act now, not next year,” said Sen. Cristina Castro, Senate sponsor of the bill. 

Strong majorities support CEJA across party, regional and race divides, winning near total support from Democrats (98%) and Independents (84%)  — even nearly six in 10 Republicans (58%) support CEJA at the outset. CEJA gains support of more than seven in 10 voters in every region, peaking at 93% support in the City of Chicago, 85% in suburban Cook County, 80% in the collar counties, 71% in northern and central Illinois and 76% support in southern Illinois. CEJA is also supported by 79% of white voters, 89% of African-American voters and 90% of voters who identify as Hispanic. In addition, 85% of labor households support the bill.

As Illinois grapples with the unprecedented challenges and job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, the poll shows that a vast majority of Illinois residents support CEJA because it can unlock tens of millions of dollars in private investment and create thousands of clean energy jobs without raising taxes, hiking electric bills, or spending scarce state revenue. 

Because of falling revenues and surging expenditures due to COVID19, clean energy policy is one of the only tools the state has to put people back to work, especially in communities where workers and small businesses have been hit hardest — predominantly communities of color that have seen disproportionate numbers of COV19 cases and deaths.

The majority of those surveyed also indicated strong support for state lawmakers who back CEJA, with 55% saying they would vote for a legislator who voted to pass the bill. Voter support for legislators who help pass CEJA grew to 62% after voters heard more details about the bill, and 74% say CEJA should be passed immediately, and not delayed until next year.

The poll also found strong approval for Gov. JB Pritzker

  • 56% approve of his overall job performance, including 33% who strongly approve. 40% disapprove.
  • 60% of voters approve of how Pritzker is handling the coronavirus pandemic, including 38% who strongly approve and just 38% disapprove. That contrasts with how Illinoisans rate President Trump’s handling of the pandemic — where just 40% approve and 58% disapprove, including a whopping 50% who strongly disapprove.
  • 63% trust Pritzker more to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, with just 37% saying they trust Trump more.

The legislation comes as the state faces an unprecedented increase in Illinois electricity bills due to a regulatory decision by the Trump administration that is poised to raise customers’ bills by hundreds of millions of dollars a year and increase our reliance on fossil fuels over renewable energy sources. CEJA will allow Illinois to circumvent the new federal regulation, stop the anticipated electricity bill increases and lower consumers bills in the process.  

The Clean Jobs Coalition is made up of more than 200 consumer, business, environmental, environmental justice, health care, faith-based and student organizations. Visit ilcleanjobs.org to learn more.