January , 2019

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Bob Fioretti’s Reply to Gov. Rauner’s State of the State Address
Gov. Rauner’s State of the State address identified many of the problems we have in Illinois, but it frequently misrepresented the source of our problems.


Fioretti, a candidate for state senator in the 5th District, said Rauner “insists on blaming unions for our financial mess, but this old saw isn’t the problem now, and it hasn’t been the problem for the decades anti-union business interests have claimed as much. More and more economic research shows unions are good for workers and good for the surrounding economy by raising wages.


“When working people earn more money, they spend more money on homes, food, music lessons and college education for their children. When businesses keep more money by not paying good wages, the money is paid in bonuses to executives or sent overseas.


“But we agree on a lot. Reducing our prison population, adding vocational training, rehabilitation services and addiction treatment are vital steps toward restorative justice, a very important issue in Illinois and around the nation.


“We agree on schools: they are broken. Earlier this month General Electric passed on putting its headquarters in Chicago not because of unions, but because of our failing schools.


“We don’t agree on the solutions.


“The solution in Illinois, in Chicago and in the 5th State Senate District isn’t to break unions, it’s to invest in our schools. Fix the disparities that deny impoverished neighborhoods a fair share of funding and require Chicago teachers to contribute more to their pensions than teachers anywhere else in the state.


“Fix the crime problem by restoring the quickly deteriorating social services being lost every day due to lack of a budget. A budget needs to be our first priority.


“Once we have that budget it should include the enhanced mental health care so essential as the first line of defense against crime and mayhem in our neighborhoods. No longer should Sheriff Tom Dart run the largest mental health facility in the state.


“One other item where Gov. Rauner and I agree is on the overcompensation of government officials. But let’s start with the ridiculously high salaries being paid to his advisers. Gov. Rauner is willing to pay high salaries to help him win partisan fights in Illinois, but he doesn’t want workers, especially our public employees, to benefit from good wages.


“I look forward to working with Gov. Rauner as the State Senator from Illinois’ 5th District, and there is a lot of fertile ground for progress.


“For now, I call on him to pass a budget first. Let’s ensure the important wrap-around services our people desperately need, and then we can talk where and if we need major structural changes.”

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