The recession’s over? Don't tell Larry Joseph, director of the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children. The latest Kids Count report shows a growing number of Illinois kids living in financially instability. “It’s higher than it was,” says Joseph. More than 30 percent live in a family in which no parent has a full-time, year-round job. “In 2008, it was 26 percent,” he said.
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And it may be good for Joseph’s future that his name is not on a ballot anywhere; he advocates extending the 2011-passed increase in the state’s income tax. “Unless we maintain this revenue, we are going to be back where we started, so to speak,” he said. Educationally, Joseph says the state’s children are not advancing enough in two important categories: fifth-grade reading skills and high school graduation.