Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Budget battles linger on, only this time we use our schools as the battlefield

For those of you people who for whatever partisan political reason want the fight over a state budget to continue, take some pleasure in the fact that the political wars aren’t completely over.
RAUNER: "Blame Madigan!' Still!

For we still have to consider the portion of the budget that goes toward funding public education in this state. Technically, the General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner still have the education funding bill to fight over.

THAT BILL APPROPRIATES the money that is meant for public education. Technically, it is still pending.

Although Rauner has made it clear that he intends to use his amendatory veto powers to alter the measure – which means it can’t take effect immediately.

To thwart the governor, the Legislature is holding off on sending him the bill. Even though they already have approved it, they won’t let Rauner act. He can’t reject it if he technically doesn’t have it in his possession. We're at the point where the governor on Monday insisted they send him the bill, just so he can amendatorily veto it -- he can't wait to get at it!

It seems the Legislature is hoping that by stalling, they can cause pressure to be built up by educators against the governor, who would then be inclined to blame him for the fact that they might not get the state funding they usually are entitled to and are most definitely counting on in order to get through the upcoming academic year.

PERHAPS THEY THINK they can “blackmail” the governor into feeling too guilty to interfere with school funding if he’ll be the one who gets blamed for the politicking.

Which most likely was behind the public appearances Rauner made in Mount Zion and in Rockford, where he made it clear that it will be Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s fault if something happens that causes the state to be late with the aid payments it provides to public school districts.

“The General Assembly under Speaker Madigan have failed to adequately or equitably fund our schools for decades,” the governor said. “It has hurt generations of Illinois children who live in low income communities.”
MADIGAN: Not waving white flag yet

Whether this would work is questionable. Since I have heard from many school administrator types during the past two years who have made it clear that when it comes to the problems related to school finances, they blame the governor!

EVEN NOW, WHEN there is a state budget in place, many say they’re having their attorneys study the situation, and won’t be fully comfortable until they see the education funding bill signed off on and they get their initial aid payments.

If the governor thinks many people are going to suddenly switch to his side, he could be mistaken. Since many perceive the problems as having begun with the partisan initiatives and the desires that Rauner has tried to bring to state government under the guise of “reform.”

The governor’s main objection to the education funding measure is that it includes provisions for altering the funding for pensions for retired teachers in the Chicago Public School system – a provision Rauner is quick to label as a “bailout.”

He’s quick to say that he could provide even more financial assistance to school districts across Illinois – if only we could ignore the problem of that one pesky district that is, by far, the largest in the state.

MEANING THIS IS the same regionalism and nonsense of trying to pit the rest of the state against Chicago, which only serves to build up the hostility and resentment that Chicago voters will feel towards the governor.

Considering the degree to which Rauner has made a series of staff changes by hiring political partisans of the Illinois Policy Institute, it would seem this “urban vs. rural” tone is going to predominate for as long as Rauner remains in office.

Which, if Dems aren’t careful, could easily extend beyond the Nov. 6, 2018 general elections. It could easily extend into “four more year” of stalemate and nothingness.

Since I don’t doubt that Rauner and his minions are miffed at not prevailing on the budget fight, it will be remarkable to see the amount of partisan bloodshed that will occur on the Statehouse Scene in coming years – and the degree to which we all get caught up in the crossfire.


No comments: