* From Sen. Sam McCann…
“There have been many pieces of legislation that have advanced over the last several years in the Illinois General Assembly that sought to bring equity and balance to the way in which we fund our schools and I have voted for most of them. I didn’t vote for them because I thought they were perfect bills, but because I knew how important the subject matter was. And because I knew it would take years for it all to come together, I wanted to be a part of advancing the conversation and the cause,” said State Senator Sam McCann (R-Plainview).
Senate Bill 1947 not only includes what many refer to as a “Chicago Bailout,” it also now introduces a brand new tax credit for the wealthy who donate to scholarship funds for private schools. It is not a voucher system, but it is rather more of a pay-to-play opportunity for the state’s most well-connected. Sen. McCann is concerned that this compromise was crafted over a matter of a few days with only four members of the General Assembly in the room, and not all 177 members of the House and Senate at the table voicing the concerns of their constituents.
“I voted for a measure a couple of weeks ago that would have accomplished more at less cost to the taxpayer. When I took that vote, I admitted that the bill wasn’t perfect, but it was a bridge to get us where we need to go. But this new bill is simply a bridge too far,” Sen. McCann stated.
The amendment to Senate Bill 1947 (Amendment 5) that passed the House of Representatives yesterday and the Senate today had no public hearings and legislators were given little time to digest the contents of the bill. Worse yet, there was no legitimate amount of time or opportunity for the public to learn about the bill and weigh in with their elected representatives.
“This bill represents one of the worst aspects of the Illinois lawmaking process. Something this important deserved sunlight, instead, it was cobbled together in the back room by a handful of people and pushed down the throats of the rank-and-file legislators,” said Sen. McCann.
“The people didn’t send me here to be a part of the status quo. They have entrusted me to use wisdom and discernment when voting on their behalf, and voting yes on a bill that spends money that we don’t have, institutes a tax credit that could very easily become abused and doing that all without any public hearings is continuing the failures of the past. We have to stop repeating these same failures over and over. I felt I had to vote No,” said Sen. McCann.
Senate Bill 1947 passed the Senate and House and now awaits the Governor’s signature. The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law in Chicago on Wednesday.
Um, he calls it a “Chicago Bailout” even though he voted to override the governor’s veto of SB1, which provided almost the same amount of state cash for CPS.