Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
* All week we have seen agency directors and not-for-profit executives featured in media stories about what services they would have to cut if the income tax rate’s sunset dates stand as they are. The school funding card in that equation is a big one, and the Senate Democrats played it yesterday…
If Illinois lawmakers don’t extend the state’s temporary income tax, school districts could see a net reduction of more than $450 million in general state aid next year.
That was the message sent by Democrats in the Senate Wednesday as they released a breakdown of how Illinois schools would fare under a doomsday budget scenario.
Nearly every one of the state’s 800-plus school districts would come out on the losing end of the state funding blueprint at a time when Illinois already is spending 89 percent of what it says it should be spending to guarantee all students get a quality education.
The Senate Republican response…
“We don’t believe the scenario they’ve created — that without an extension of their 67 percent income-tax increase the state budget will collapse,” said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno. “We believe they are attempting to create a crisis to justify going back to taxpayers’ pockets.”
Schuh said Democrats “have not made education a priority” the past 10 years they’ve run the Statehouse.
“The Democrats have chosen to spend taxpayers money in other areas, so who would believe now that education would be a priority?” she said.
The “Why should we believe you?” argument made a regular appearance last week during Executive Committee hearings on the graduated income tax and before Speaker pulled the plug on the millionaire’s tax.
* Report: Big cuts to state aid for schools if income tax increase expires: In Springfield alone, the school district would see a reduction of just over $4 million. The Senate Democrats’ figures showed the district getting about $35.8 million in general state aid this year.
* District 150 would see $5.4M cut in state budget scenario