December , 2018

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Once a corporate raider, Illinois’ governor is now a school raider as his budget address is as offensive to public education as his failed policies are for the citizens and taxpayers of Illinois


CHICAGO, ILThe Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in response to Governor Bruce Rauner’s 2018 budget address. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey can be cited for attribution:

Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal is as offensive as Jeanne Ives’ TV commercials. It’s offensive to logic, equity, students and families in public schools, and hard-working school staff—overwhelmingly women—who work with children every day. Rauner’s priorities are so far out of line with Illinois, it’s no surprise he’s among the U.S. governors most likely to lose his job.

Rauner mostly offends through his school funding bait-and-switch. He claims a $350 million increase to school funding, but cuts $220 million from Chicago Public Schools and forces school districts across the state to ultimately pay $1 billion more in pension obligations. This means that schools receive less in the long run, the result of which are deep cuts to public education again in Chicago—the loss of librarians, teachers, special education assistants, counselors and social workers who treat students with trauma. The governor also completely eliminates line items for advanced placement courses, after-school programs, parent mentors and professional development for teachers, while dismantling college credit opportunities, additional student supports and better instruction in the process. He makes this proposal mere months after he spends millions telling the state about his great school funding formula win.

Once a corporate raider, Rauner is now a school raider.

Further, his offensive against retirement security for those who provide public services continues. Clearly showing no regard for unanimous Illinois Supreme Court decisions, the governor puts forth another vague pension reduction proposal for those who have no social security benefits so that he can reduce his own taxes—on top of the giant tax gift he has already received from fellow Republican, President Donald Trump. Rauner’s obsession with reducing public employees’ retirement security, despite his making millions from those same funds, is classic double-dealing.

Of course, for a governor whose approval rating is already at a ground-scraping 26 percent, it probably makes sense to go after a large group of mostly women who won’t vote for another term of his failed policies.

There remains a state to look for guidance, and it’s not Missouri, whose governor and star of Rauner’s televised campaign ads is under federal grand jury investigation. Instead, Illinois needs to look to Minnesota. If Rauner were serious about growing the state’s economy, he would focus on the real cause of the state’s challenges: regressive and insufficient revenue generation. He would also advocate for a surcharge on millionaires and heartily support a graduated income tax. He would propose eliminating Trump tax loopholes that further explode income inequality in Illinois, and end dubious corporate welfare programs like EDGE that shovel money towards some of the richest men on the planet.

Instead, we got today’s beautiful anti-Valentine’s Day card: more money for him, more cuts for the rest of us.

Thanks, governor. Don’t expect a card in return.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctunet.com.

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