Steve Bellows

Steve Bellows

“I’ve lived in Illinois my whole life. I was born and raised in Elgin and we now live in DeKalb.

“I’ve been driving Uber and Lyft for about two and a half years because I was forced to sell my independent bread route.

“At first it was great. But things slowed down because they hired so many drivers, so you had to drive more. Last year I had four separate surgeries. We [barely] survived the year, financially.

“The beginning of this year started out great. I was finally feeling good, I had all the parts in my body working great and I was making good money finally, too.

“Then all of a sudden, this coronavirus hit the week we were to move into a brand-new place. Already signed the lease, couldn’t back out of it. What choice did we have but to move?

“Now I’m barely making $300 a week and I can’t find any type of financial help. I’ve been online trying to apply for unemployment and you just can’t get through. And even if you do get through, everybody’s saying you’re going to be denied and then you have to reapply through this new thing, and even then, you can be denied.

“I’m having a real hard time supporting my family. My health is failing. I can’t get in to see doctors, so who knows where that will go. If this doesn’t get any better, my family is most likely going to have to move into one of our relatives’ houses or find a 1-2 bedroom apartment somewhere.

“It really hurts. It’s horrible.

“The progressive tax is a mistake. Down the line here, it’s going to [lead to] more taxes and he’s going to be able to increase taxes as much as he wants. Having that progressive tax is going to do nothing but hurt people more.

“[Gov. J.B. Pritzker] has to understand that there’s a lot of people out here doing these types of gig and delivery jobs struggling to make ends meet and are right in the thick of things. I appreciate very much the doctors and the nurses and the firemen. I’ve been giving a lot of those people rides back and forth to work. And you never hear any mention of any gig workers or any appreciation that we deserve, and I think it falls right down onto the unemployment system not accepting us.”

Steve Bellows
DeKalb, Illinois

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