Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Governor Rauner Stuck between a Rock and Rhetoric (from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability)

For Governor Bruce Rauner's "Good Friday Massacre," April 3rd, he proposed cutting an additional $26 million from the remaining FY2015 budget. That included cutting services for individuals with autism - a day after World Autism Awareness Day! 

Children may be some of the hardest hit by these budget cuts. For instance, Erie Neighborhood House offers early childhood education, after school, youth options, and adult and family programs. 

Ninety-eight percent of those who participate in Erie House programs fall at or below the poverty level. Erie House leaders fear their very existence is threatened. 

Another particularly vulnerable population to suffer from state budget cuts are low-income people with mental health disorders or addiction issues. Governor Rauner proposes to cut $82 million from mental health programs - about a 15 percent reduction…

People in crisis without mental health services can end up in even more expensive settings, such as emergency rooms, nursing homes and jails. Consider lost economic productivity, which further reduces state income tax revenue. Prison costs will rise, as will the need for added law enforcement.

One has to ask "Why," when there are workable solutions. (See article below.) At this time, there are less than 25 scheduled session days for the Governor and Legislature to work this out before the May 31st adjournment… Executive Director Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability shares his thoughts in this State Journal-Register column,  "Rauner Stuck Between a Rock and Rhetoric": HERE.   


The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability's three-year estimate for base General Funds revenues report an expected decline of -7.1% in FY 2015 and a continued decline of -5.7% in FY2016. Read the COGFA forecast HERE.  

CTBA is all about solutions.  Last Monday, at a town hall meeting convened in Champaign by State Representative Carol Ammons, CTBA Executive Director Ralph Martire told those gathered that Illinois' tax policy, designed for a 1900's economy, simply doesn't work anymore.

For example, he pointed out how the state is handling pensions: "Borrowing against what we owe the pensions, for instance, and using that revenue, instead, to fund services. We're repaying this debt to the pension systems, and that repayment is growing in leaps and bounds every year, and we simply just don't have the resources to maintain even a basic level of public services from one year to the next."

Ralph Martire outlined real solutions to the state's budget deficit. Read about them in Champaign's News-Gazette article HERE.  


P.J. Caposey, Superintendent of the Meridian District 223 Schools in northwest Illinois, puts into context what Governor Rauner's recent fund sweeps and budget cuts mean to local schools: 

"It means that three-quarters of the way through the fiscal year the state legislature has informed schools that they will not be receiving (at least) 2.25 percent of the money that they expected to receive for the past nine months... It is also important for taxpayers to understand that schools have been underfunded for some time," said Superintendent Caposey in the attached RELEASE.

Caposey says that the Meridian district is at a point where any fat left has been cut. Further reductions will directly impact students in a negative way if schools don't have the revenue stream to balance their budgets.
Is this the Illinois we want? Or is it just the Illinois we are willing to pay for?
PJ Caposey is an award-winning educator; author of two books (Teach Smart and Building a Culture of Support); and sought after speaker and consultant specializing in school culture, principal coaching, effective evaluation practices, and student-centered instruction. PJ is on twitter @MCUSDSupe

The above article is from Kathy Miller at CTBA

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