* Tony Arnold…
The State Senate overrode Rauner’s [SB1] veto with one Republican joining Democrats. But, in the House, the original bill passed 11 votes short of a veto-proof majority. So Democrats would require assistance from Republicans.
State Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva, broke with Rauner, voting to pass a state budget; but he said he won’t do the same for school funding.
“I don’t see any other Republicans breaking on this issue right now,” he said. “As time goes on, if there isn’t a compromise and if schools downstate start not opening, that’s a question you’re gonna have to ask those representatives about how they feel about their districts.”
Sources tell POLITICO not to expect the state House to initiate a SB1 override vote until next week. As we referenced last week, Democrats on Wednesday are expected to take up a version of Rauner’s school funding plan as laid out in his amendatory veto language, but it’ll be in their own bill. Democrats we talked to predict it will get fewer than 20 votes. Then if (when?) it fails, Democrats will declare there’s no support for Rauner’s plan. As of Monday evening, the intention was for the state House to call SB1 for an override vote next week. There’s still a problem: not enough Republicans have crossed over to override.
MADIGAN WARMS TO SCHOLARSHIP TAX CREDITS — To sweeten the deal for Republicans, top Democrats over the weekend were in touch with Cardinal Blase Cupich about a proposal — which Rauner supports — to provide scholarship tax credits for private schools.
One of the paths Democrats are eyeing is linking the scholarships to SB1 in order to pull the needed Republican votes for an override next week. State House Speaker Michael Madigan is reportedly open to a plan that would give tax credits for those who send their children to private schools. It would be available to families who are way above the poverty line, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions. The Tribune editorial board, which has been in lock step with Rauner, last night called for the SB1 override and private school credits. If that passes, Rauner can then say he expanded school choice.
But it’s a classic Madigan trick box. Madigan’s team knows the exact number of private schools in each legislative district — including those of targeted GOP lawmakers. With 2018 in mind, the speaker is known to protect his caucus with such votes — but will Rauner? Just one possible scenario Democrats anticipate: Targeted Republicans who originally voted against SB1 at the governor’s urging (even if it brought more money to their schools) may end up being urged now by the governor to support SB1 with private school tax credits (even if there are few, if any, private schools in their districts.) Some Downstate Republicans may end preferring a straight SB1 override versus a version of the deal with tax credits.
That’s kind of all over the place. The Democrats sure seem confident that the Republicans will break with the governor again, but I’m with Andersson and don’t see that happening really soon. But the Republican leaders are pushing hard behind the scenes to get that private school scholarship tax credit into law. But for Rauner to do a 180 on SB1 just for that seems unlikely after all this messaging about how it’s a Chicago bailout.
Go back to the original SB1, add in some tax credits and some mandate relief and you’ve got a decent compromise that can eventually attract Republican votes even if the governor remains stubbornly opposed. This really shouldn’t be as difficult as everyone is making it. But, of course, it’s Illinois. Madigan has to be Madigan and Rauner has to be Rauner, and that means for each of them to feel like they’ve won, they have to feel like they’ve beaten the other guy.
* Let’s go back to that Amanda Vinicky interview…
VINICKY: But do they need to accept all of what is in your amendatory veto then, or what part of that would lead us to a compromise?
RAUNER: So, I said to the General Assembly, any element of my amendatory veto I’m open to changing. Let’s compromise, let’s find a solution. Let’s do it together. Let’s do what’s fair for our kids, especially our low-income kids, so they’re all treated the same.
VINICKY: But there’s nothing in it you need to have, that you insist on –
RAUNER: There’s no has to have. No, nothing.
RAUNER: Nothing. Absolutely nothing has to happen. The only principle we should be guided by is what’s best for our children, what treats them all the same so they have the best chance they can at the American dream.
“Absolutely nothing has to happen.” Um… Then why AV it to begin with? Sheesh.