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Emanuel blames state for phony school budget

Friday, Jul 25, 2014

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel explains why he signed off on a school budget that uses 14 months of revenue for twelve months of spending

He argued that he had no choice when Illinois ranks 50th among 50 states in school funding and Chicago Public Schools has a pension crisis that still has not been solved.

“Chicago taxpayers pay for the pensions of suburban and Downstate teachers and their own teachers. We should be part of that system so Chicago taxpayers are not bearing the burden of pension costs twice,” the mayor said.

“So, the solution to this is working with Springfield to get the resources we need….The state has to be part of the solution on the fiscal side.”

Hmm. Barring more state cash (and there isn’t any), could they fold the city’s school pension fund into TRS?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - Steve - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    Folding?? Putting one underfunded pension system into another underfunded pension system: isn’t diversifying risk.


  2. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    We have plenty of public money for TIFs, new basketball stadiums and hotels.

    As for our school system? We’re broke. Blame those guys in Springfield for not helping us.

    Good luck on that $600 million pension payment that’s coming due if you keep making choices like this, Rahm.


  3. - East Central Illinois - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    Rahm wants it all. At everybody else’s expense.


  4. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    But people want to see some high quality DePaul hoops in a new arena….


  5. - Illinois Dem - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    Doesn’t CPS get more general state ed than they should? I thought that was mentioned before when the complaints about Chicago paying the pensions of the state.


  6. - William j Kelly - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    Rahm’s not responsible for crime, red light cameras, budgets….. Rahm is just not up to the job! A real city deserves a real mayor! Williamjkellyforchicago.com


  7. - OLK 73 - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Wow!!! Nice theory Rich. Would there be enough Chicago only votes and enough severance package type prizes for the suburban/downstate legislators who would be thrown out for voting for it? If there is, consider it a done deal. Just like the tax increase rewards.


  8. - Solved - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Chicago voters elected him mayor so whatever he does is ok.


  9. - Phenomynous - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Chicago wanted control over the dedicated pension levy. The Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund would be as well funded as IMRF if they hadn’t used the money for other purposes.

    “Before 1995, CTPF collected a property tax levy directly from the city of Chicago to fund pensions. Legislation passed in 1995 allowed CPS to divert the property tax levy into its operating budget. Between 1996 and 2005, the BOE collected $2 billion in property tax revenue but did not make actuarially required contributions to support the fund. At the same time, the state of Illinois - which had agreed, in principle, to fund CTPF at 20 to 30 percent of the amount it funded the downstate Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) - has never seen fit to honor that commitment.” http://www.ctpf.org/current_news/currentindex.htm

    Daley wanted the flexibility to use the total levy the way he saw fit. They kept property taxes artificially low and are now paying the repercussions. As a property taxpayer in downstate Illinois, I have no sympathy for the school district that hasn’t went to referendum for education funds since the early 1970’s.


  10. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    Sorry Mr. Mayor - not a real excuse for this mess.


  11. - Buzzie - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    Problem solved—-red light cameras at every intersection.


  12. - Anon - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    Sure Mayor, we can bring the CTPF into TRS, just as soon as CTPF us 100% funded.


  13. - Anon - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    == IL ranks 50th in state funding for schools ==

    Yet our conservative friends insist we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. We are also 50th in number of state workers per capita. Facts don’t matter to those whose article of faith is that the state is wasteful, corrupt, and spendthrift.


  14. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    == Facts don’t matter to those whose article of faith is that the state is wasteful, corrupt, and spendthrift ==

    Please see the NRI program, the parade of governors and state legislators and local politicians who have been convicted of various crimes. We say we are broke but then turn around and hire a guy to be a canoe czar..

    The challenge you face isn’t folks who don’t mind paying more taxes (I would put myself in that crew) but fundamentally don’t think we can trust the state to spend it wisely…


  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    ==Facts don’t matter== Anon @ 1:23

    See what I did there. Clearly facts don’t matter to someone that will just swallow this distortion from Rahm or any other politician. Illinois schools are primarily funded from property taxes and therefore a smaller amount is funded through the state’s budget. You can argue for additional funding from the state, just please stop the peddling of this type of “fact” which is meant to sway the uninformed.


  16. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    Rich, you have struck pay dirt.

    I think there is a lot of savings to be found by consolidating the 656 pension systems in Illinois.

    You heard me right.

    656 systems with 656 boards, staff, and consultants like Bruce Rauner.

    New York, by contrast, has eight systems.

    California, only 63.


  17. - Anon - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    T=== but (we) fundamentally don’t think we can trust the state to spend it wisely… ===

    History tells us that as soon as a Republican governor wants to raise taxes, that lack of trust suddenly dissipates.


  18. - Anon - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    == we hire a guy to be canoe czar ==

    Illinois consistently ranks among the lowest-spending states in the nation. You can always point to some stupid program, but the big picture is that Illinois is frugal compared to other states.


  19. - tugboat captain tony - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    emanuel seems to have taken the pension idea from the civic fed recent cps report


  20. - Weary - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    I thought Rahm was a take charge, the buck stops here kind of guy? He gets special block grants for his schools that no other district in Illinois gets, he has a giant property tax base on which to generate tax revenues with one of the lowest school property tax rates in the state, yet hasn’t gone to referendum to try to help himself, and he has hundreds of millions in discretionary TIF money he could be using. But it’s the state’s fault? That’s priceless.


  21. - Obama's Puppy - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    So shift funding responsibility from Chicago to the state for CTPF and shift TRS from the state funding to local school districts - genius part 2.


  22. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    Illinois consistently ranks among the lowest-spending states in the nation. You can always point to some stupid program, but the big picture is that Illinois is frugal compared to other states.

    It also has the most units of government, so there are more entities to spend, so therefore the pie gets spread around more, it doesn’t change the fact that pie is big..

    If Illinois was like you seem to describe a state overall (ignoring a specific unit of government) a state that spent less overall than other states, don’t you think the existing elected officials would hype that up a bit?

    Or just look at some statistics…

    http://taxfoundation.org/article/annual-state-local-tax-burden-ranking-fy-2011

    #13 so basically in/out the top 25% of the states. not #40…..


  23. - JS Mill - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Many districts are primarily funded by local property tax dollars. That does not change the fact that, by the student numbers, CPS receives a disproportionate share of state funding. CPS has also been the specific beneficiary of changes to the funding formula and other special funding programs. For instance, CPS get a large percentage of PTELL money right of the top. The rest of the districts under PTELL split the remainder. There is some irony to taking money from the general school fund and giving it to schools whose citizens said they wanted to cap property taxes, taking it away from districts where the citizens did not approve PTELL,


  24. - DuPage - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    The homeowners taxes in Chicago (Cook county) are actually pretty low compared to the collar counties. The system of state money for schools was set up to Chicago’s advantage. The higher the local taxes, the less state money for the school district. Daley knew what he was doing, the lower he kept Chicago taxes, the more state money he got. Meanwhile, the suburbs had to hold referendums to raise their own local taxes, again and again. Each time, when the local taxes were raised, state money went down. This should be looked at, it appears the collar counties are paying more for a lot less from the state.
    No merger of Chicago should be done unless Chicago pays up in full first, bringing it up to 100% funding level. Then talk about the state taking over future contributions only.


  25. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    == History tells us that as soon as a Republican governor wants to raise taxes, that lack of trust suddenly dissipates. ==

    Recent history also tells us a democratic legislature apparently doesn’t trust a democratic governor on that either…


  26. - Anon - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Illinois has the fourth-lowest per capita spending in the nation, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. We spend less per capita than any state except Texas, Florida or Nevada.
    http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/per-capita-state-spending/


  27. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    He should look inwards


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