* Paul Merrion runs the numbers…
Mr. Rauner opposes making the tax hike permanent, yet at the same time, “Bruce will make education a top priority and increase funding for it,” a Rauner campaign spokesman says.
Education accounts for about half of the state’s discretionary spending, which runs about $16.4 billion. If the 5 percent personal income tax rate rolls back to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1 as scheduled, the state would receive roughly $1.75 billion less in revenue for the second half of its fiscal year.
Spreading the cuts evenly, the governor’s office estimates that education would lose $875 million, including $224 million for Chicago schools (see the PDF).
If Mr. Rauner wants to increase education funding in spite of lower revenue, the other half of the discretionary budget would have to be reduced by more than $1.75 billion, a cut of upward of 21 percent. He has not revealed his proposed budget.
* Meanwhile, the SJ-R editorial board wants some answers from Rauner…
It’s not necessarily advantageous to his campaign for Rauner to reveal what his budget plans are at this point. In a more typical Illinois gubernatorial election, observers may not expect to hear such details from candidates until later in the summer. But this is no typical election, and taxpayers deserve to know more than what’s simply thought to be politically advantageous. Illinois has major, potentially devastating financial difficulties.
Rauner may have a revolutionary plan that would save Illinois and relieve taxpayers of an additional burden on their pocketbooks. He won’t show his hand, though, and that’s maddening for people trying to determine the right path for the state.
* In a related story, the Daily Herald editorial board is upset…
The legislature says community colleges should provide this education, but it doesn’t compensate them for the expense of doing it.
Well, we should say, the state doesn’t necessarily compensate the community colleges for this expense. Because in some cases, the state disperses grant money to subsidize at least some of that education.
But our state legislature being our state legislature, it doesn’t do this fairly or openly or without, at the very least, the appearance of political cronyism or favoritism.
As the Illinois News Network reported earlier this month, a House appropriations bill would award $1.25 million in veterans grants to the state’s community colleges, but only 18 of the 43 community colleges in Illinois would receive them.
None of the community colleges in area suburbs would see a dime.
Not College of DuPage, not College of Lake County, not Elgin Community College, not Harper College, not McHenry Community College, not Oakton Community College, not Waubonsee Community College. None of them. Not a single cent.
Community colleges collect property taxes, so the simple answer is that those suburban schools have relatively thriving property tax bases when compared to other schools. Ergo, the different treatment.
* Other stuff…
* House Democrats on the spot with tax, budget votes