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Chicago media finally catches on

Tuesday, Sep 9, 2014

* Notice a pattern here? Tribune

Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner on Monday promised to pump more money into education from preschool through college should he be elected, but failed to say how he’d pay for it and keep his earlier pledges to lower the income tax rate and freeze property taxes.

The so-called “blueprint” for education follows the pattern of similar proposals the first-time candidate has released in recent months about how he’d govern, containing broad themes but few specifics. Rauner previously has called for an overhaul of business tax credits, said he’d phase out the 2011 income tax increase over four years while broadening sales taxes to include some services and talked about cutting the state budget.

* ABC 7

Republican candidate for governor Bruce released his education plan for Illinois on Monday and it calls for more spending, but fails to say where the money would come from.

Despite promises to roll back the state income tax rate and freeze property taxes, Rauner vows to increase, not cut, education spending.

* Sun-Times

Rauner was pressed on how he could increase education money while freezing property taxes, which right now make up the bulk of funding for local schools. Rauner vowed he would increase money in his first year in office — something at least one expert called “fantasy.”

“We will increase education funding in year one, yes, absolutely,” Rauner said. “Other programs will need to be cut,” he said, without specifying which ones. […]

“There’s no way to make the numbers work in the short term without either massive cuts or to shift to broad-based consumption taxes,” said University of Illinois at Springfield Political Science professor emeritus Kent Redfield.

“If you’ve got a deficit situation and you take out a huge source of revenue, then you can’t increase funding in one area without massive cuts to social services, higher education, mental health institutions … It’s just a fantasy to believe that this can be done and still maintain the basic level of services that we have.”

Rauner said he has pointed to ways to cut government waste in the past and to tax services. But Redfield said Rauner’s proposal to tax services was not broad enough to do all that he’s promising, in part because it excludes financial services.

* AP Chicago Bureau

Rauner’s 26-page education plan, laced with statistics and graphs, was short on specifics of how the venture capitalist would proceed with his ideas or what exactly he wanted to do. He called for an overhaul of how the state doles out money to school districts — a contentious issue in Illinois — but didn’t say what should be in the funding formula. His plan called for changing the way Illinois schools grant tenure and cited a Florida practice allowing annual contracts, but Rauner said he wouldn’t do away with tenure completely. […]

Rauner’s campaign didn’t provide a cost estimate on the plan, saying some ideas such as the tax credits were “revenue neutral.” However, Rauner vowed to increase education spending, even in the first year of office, without extending the temporary tax increase or raising property taxes.

He said his policies would help Illinois’ economy grow so much that additional revenue would come in from new jobs and, combined with other steps such as eliminating waste in state government, Illinois would be able to close a budget hole.

* Our beloved commenter and experienced budget hand Steve Schnorf will get the final word on this aspect of the Rauner proposal

I like it that Bruce Rauner is becoming increasingly specific with the newer position papers he is putting out. To his paper:

>much of it is simply facts about our current education system, both K-12 and Higher Ed. Many of those facts are quite damning, that is undebateable.

>many of those nasty facts can’t be blamed on Governor Quinn since they have been bad for a long time before he became Governor. However, the significant reduction in education funding over the past 6 years is owned by the person who is Governor.

>some new (to Illinois) ideas are included, and some of them are probably worth trying.

>increasing both K-12 and Higher Ed funding is, in my opinion, a good and necessary idea. Inadequate K-12 funding does drive up property taxes, and inadequate Higher Ed funding has imposed a very large hidden middle class tax increase in the past 10 years.

>most of those new ideas will cost new money.

Aye, and now we come to the rub, don’t we? Bruce Rauner simply HAS to tell us how he’s going to pay for these things. Governor Quinn can’t pay for them in FY15 (and perhaps beyond), because the legislature has chosen to reduce our state tax revenues considerably. Candidate Rauner has told us he wants to reduce our income tax rate below even what it will become Jan 1. Fine, but cognitive dissonance is starting to kill me, since I can fairly quickly back of the envelope round number what our state tax revenues will be 5 years from now, giving Rauner credit for his policies increasing tax revenue growth at rates above what I believe they will actually be, and adding in his new proposed tax on services (which I think is a good idea, just not taken far enough). So far it just doesn’t add up. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - John Boch - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    Just tuned in and they (Quinn and Rauner) were bickering like little schoolgirls.

    Then the Trib asks Rauner about the minimum wage.

    Boy, with questions like that, we never are going to fix this state’s biggest problems.

    Next thing they’ll ask if Rauner wants to regulate birth control pills.


  2. - Black Ivy - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    Candidates should be allowed some flexibility in issuing sweeping proposals. Too much detail and specificity will only result in “boxing them in” and lead to broken campaign promises. As an informed voter, I am looking for general broad proposals and will expect and demand the “nuts and bolts” in due time…when it’s time to govern.

  3. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    Sure, Rauner has to tell us how he intends to pay for his plan.

    Just like Quinn has to tell us how he intends to pay for his plan, whatever that may be.

    “More of the same” hardly counts as much of a plan, but even that must be detailed. Both of them have to lay it out, and Rauner has at least taken the first step.

  4. - Geronimo - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    He’ll pay for increased education funding by taking a pension holiday each and every year. That money, intended to go to employees will not. Solution.

  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    –As an informed voter, I am looking for general broad proposals and will expect and demand the “nuts and bolts” in due time–

    LOL, so as an “informed voter,” you’re in favor of increasing spending and cutting taxes at the same time, “nuts and bolts” to come later?

    Gee, why didn’t anyone ever propose that before?

    –Bruce Rauner simply HAS to tell us how he’s going to pay for these things. –

    Schnorf, I think it’s clear by now that the whole campaign strategy is to promise the mathematically impossible.

  6. - walker - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    CBTA’s Martire has done the numbers on Rauner’s “Blueprint” documents to date. The full report was issued yesterday on their web site.

    It first points out the major holes in Rauner’s numbers as they have been put out so far. That’s easy for anyone with a pencil and a napkin.

    Then they give Rauner the benefit of all possible doubts.

    Using Rauner’s own optimistic claims about how much the economy could grow with lower taxes, (rates which have apparently never happened before when states actually lowered taxes), plus Rauner’s claims of potential “saves” that just have to be there because the Trib once said so (many of which are not even in the state budget now) — and Rauner’s “Blueprint” still comes up many $Billions short over the next five years.

    Again, using Rauner’s own “best case” claims, his plan fails the Arithmetic Challenge big time. And his best case claims are easy to dismiss or significantly diminish with hard evidence.

    That is probably why the analysts, who look at real numbers, even at IPI and the Civies, are making only the most general of statements about Rauner’s plan. They know the numbers don’t add up.

  7. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    How exactly has Quinn cut from the budget when FY2015 GRF levels are the highest in Illinois’s history?

    If you sit through any Appropriation hearing - whether in the House or Senate - you will quickly find that EVERY state agency trips over itself to meet federal matching dollar requirements. The agencies all lamented the “doomsday” scenarios because they would cost the state chances at federal funding.

    I have seen little-to-no “fact checking” and outrage over Quinn’s budgetary distortions. They have been his stump speech and talking point at the Statehouse and in his commercials.

  8. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Both guys knows how they intend to fund education, but neither wants us to know.

    They will raise our taxes.

  9. - walker - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Black Ivy: Appreciate your viewpoint.

    It is shared by most who expect general directions and value statements from candidates, and trust that they will find a way to manage toward their objectives.

    But at what point do you just cry “foul?”

    When you know for certain that the key promises they make cannot come close to being delivered.

    That’s where we are with Rauner. Either he backs off some of his clearly impossible promises right now, like he did with his original “no tax increase,” or he loses credibility. We’re not talking rounding errors; we’re talking many billions of dollars off. No benefit of doubt left.

  10. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    ==- VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:05 am:==

    Pat Quinn supports a graduated income tax and paying for education from GRF. He’s said this countless times. The idea that “both guys” don’t want us to know is idiotic.

  11. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    ===but neither wants us to know===

    Quinn spent most of the Spring legislative session trying to twist arms and find vote to extend the 5% income tax rate. You must have heard something about that, it was in all the papers.

    Oh, right. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

  12. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    So if the status quo is inevitable because there is no money to change things and voters don’t want to pay more, then the only relevant issue for governor is who will best manage the Illinois fiscal death spiral. The plane is going down with 10 passengers and 5 parachutes. And the governor decides who gets a chute.

  13. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    I *hope* that Rauner “simply HAS to tell us” the details. Reagan and others haven’t - they just say “when the economy grows (thanks to my policies and not a cyclical economy, thank you), revenues will rise.” My advice to Rauner would be to say that in the event revenues and “getting tough” with the unions are insufficient he would support sequestration for everything other than education - then nobody can accuse him of numbers not adding up but nobody can specifically say what would get cut. And Rauner could point to the federal government and say “The Democrats have lied before about sequestration - turns out there’s tons of waste to cut, the deficits shrink and the sky doesn’t fall.” (Misleading, but only partially - the Democrats were way over-the-top in arguing against sequestration ).

    Bruce, if you take my advice, I want a consulting fee - buy me a cap fax subscription or something!

  14. - PolPal56 - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    Thankfully, the IL Constitution and Supreme Court have some say, or State retirees and employees would already be splats on the ground.

  15. - Chi - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    “neither wants us to know”

    Quinn has said the income tax increase should continue, hasn’t he?

  16. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    Quinn is trying to avoid his “Mondale Moment”. Remember when Mondale was running for President? He made the statement, ” I’ll tell you right now, I AM going to raise your taxes!” to the cheers of government workers and welfare recipients in the audience.

    The voters didn’t cheer so loudly on election day.

    The tax increases may be imminent for programs being proposed, but after Mondale NO ONE crows about raising taxes unless there are enough welfare recipients, government payrollers and crony captitalists out there to carry you over the finish line. that may be the case in Illinois, but Quinn obviously isn’t taking any chances by making that a big public issue.

  17. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    Just tuned last few minutes of Tribbies gab fest….Noticed Slip&Sue worried about fashion…yikes….Tribbies should have asked if she was comfortable with Mitt’s decision not to work to repeal Marriage Equality like his role model Scott Walker
    At least we see media finally waking up to the Mitt Rauner Hoax….now we just need to round out the BizWiz background — yuck and his complete flip on TAX HIKES

  18. - Votecounter - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    The Governor called Rauners economic plan Voodoo economics. If I were Rauner I would jump on that Democrats used that against Regan Until it started to work! I know it was Bush 1 who started calling it that but it was used by the Democrats who tried to beat Reagan with it. Voodoo economics is cut taxes and grow the pie. Tax cuts bring in more money because it allows people to keep their money and invest or spend it on the private sector. JFK said a rising tide lifts all boats.

  19. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    ===Tax cuts bring in more money because it allows people to keep their money and invest or spend it on the private sector.===

    They also create budget deficits. The US government doesn’t have to deal with that much. States do.

  20. - Chi - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    “Until it started to work!”
    It never, ever, worked.

    JFK said a rising tide lifts all boats when the top bracket was at 90%

  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    –The Governor called Rauners economic plan Voodoo economics. If I were Rauner I would jump on that Democrats used that against Regan–

    Bush I coined the phrase in the primaries. And his name was Reagan.

  22. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    == Quinn spent most of the Spring legislative session trying to twist arms and find vote to extend the 5% income tax rate. ==

    “Twisting arms”? Governor Quinn, getting results. Except for when he doesn’t. ;)

    Meanwhile, Rauner says he supports a gradual reduction in the tax rate rather than an immediate reduction and new revenue on certain services.

    Quite frankly, both are selling magic dust and avoiding details imho. Probably because neither have sufficient plans or answers for the large challenges facing us.

  23. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    ==- Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:25 am:==

    You aren’t that intelligent are you? Quinn loudly trumpeted an income tax hike running for election in 2010. You’re Mondale moment BS is just that.

  24. - foster brooks - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Two ways he will try,tax pensions,skip pension payments

  25. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    Bob, Quinn spent the Spring legislative session saying he wanted to maintain the current 5% income tax rate, not let it expire, loudly and proudly. Are you just silly or are you just being partisan?

    And Votecounter, most credible research pretty clearly shows that at the state level at least, cutting taxes does not result in revenue growth, the most recent example being Kansas.

  26. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Can we avoid the personal insults?

    Especially as election day approaches and everyone’s stress levels ratchet up?

  27. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    ===Tax cuts bring in more money because it allows people to keep their money and invest or spend it on the private sector.===

    Why does that make sense to anyone? I guess tax increases bring in less money?

    No, they create large deficits, as we saw in the Reagan and Bush II years.

    That’s why after the 1981 tax cuts, Reagan raised taxes in most of the remaining years of his presidency.

  28. - Anon - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    == the accumulated General Fund deficit is already $6.5 billion, it does not seem mathematically possible that the loss of another $5 billion in annual revenue will do anything but worsen the state’s already poor fiscal condition. In fact, if service spending is simply held constant with FY2015 levels—in nominal dollars with no adjustment for inflation—the deficit created by the fiscal policy proposals in the Blueprint would total $12.5 billion == CTBA

    I can’t wait to see Treasurer Cross file a lawsuit when Gov. Rauner’s first budget has a deficit exceeding $10M.

  29. - OldSmoky2 - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    ==Tax cuts bring in more money because it allows people to keep their money and invest or spend it on the private sector.==

    Except that’s not the way Reagan’s policies actually played out. He more than doubled the national debt in just his first six years in office. Even he finally acknowledged that his cutting-taxes-will-raise-revenues rhetoric was a sham when he famously declared “deficits don’t matter.” Rauner’s promises to cut taxes and raise spending are the same kind of snake oil. It just can’t be done. Illinois state government spending is already less per capita than almost every other state. If we want to increase education spending by the state, then the state will have to raise more revenues.

  30. - foster brooks - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    A couple more nuggets from rauners crystal ball, redo employee contracts(his words),raise co-pay/deductibles to ridiculous levels for retirees/active employees,cut billions in govt waste he claims is there.

  31. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    Bruce Rauner is Santa Claus. Forget Chickens - start using that. Or send around a dancing calculator.

  32. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    fka, if I said silly things on here, knowing full well that there are people posting here that would recognize them as silly, then I would have little to complain about if called on it, don’t you think?

  33. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    steve schnorf, thanks for your intelligent reply. Now I’m torn. I respectfully believe that there are ways of telling someone to knock it off or expose their point as silly without personally insulting them. Then again, it is insulting to us for someone to intentionally make such a silly point to begin with.

    My biggest concern was that everyone can make a silly point from time to time without always meaning to. Glass houses and all that. It neglected that some people make those silly comments on the Internets knowing they are doing just that.

  34. - Percival - Tuesday, Sep 9, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    Wasn’t the rationale of “Don’t worry, there will be increased revenues in future years from a growing economy” used in past years for consistently inadequate allocations to pension funds? I’m rapidly becoming allergic to snake oil.

  35. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 10, 14 @ 9:36 am:

    I didn’t want to comment yesterday, leaving - steve schnorf -’a words be the defining prism, but it wouldn’t be right not to recognize that - steve schnorf -, and just the weight of his words and observations, make me take an even harder look at what is going on and being said, beyond the obvious problems seen with Bruce Rauner.

    Thanks - steve schnorf - for sharing, I always learn reading you.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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