* Subscribers have lots of details, but there’s the Trib’s strong coverage…
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget on Wednesday will propose having Chicago Public Schools, downstate and suburban school districts and state universities pay more of their teachers’ pension costs, in an attempt to save state government millions of dollars a year. […]
In all, Rauner will propose spending about $37.6 billion of the roughly $38 billion the state is estimated to bring in from taxes and fees, leaving a surplus of $351 million. Roughly $1.3 billion in proposed savings will come from shifting pension costs onto schools, as well as a proposal to slash health insurance benefits for retired teachers and state employees. The plans were outlined in budget documents Rauner’s office provided to legislative staff on Tuesday night, which were obtained by the Tribune. […]
Even so, Rauner will lay out some lofty goals. That includes $7.8 billion in new spending on a statewide construction program. Of that, $50 million would be used to upgrade facilities at the veterans home in downstate Quincy, where 13 residents died in an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that began in 2015. It’s unclear from the brief budget documents how the construction program would be paid for.
Though he vetoed the tax hike that went into effect last summer and has been a vocal critic of it on the campaign trail, Rauner’s budget relies on the money the increase takes in. The governor does, however, offer “a path” to dropping the 4.95 percent income tax rate. That proposal relies on putting in place a new pension plan first floated by Senate President John Cullerton. It suggests state worker and teacher retirement benefits can be scaled back, but only if they agree to the changes and are given something in return.
Rauner estimates that plan could lead to $900 million in savings and would allow for a 0.25 percentage point cut in the income tax rate.
Go read the rest.
* Rauner Budget Counts On Tax Hike: Rauner wants more money to go to education and less to be spent on things like prisons and the judiciary. And according to a preview document obtained by public radio, the governor will not call for an immediate rollback of the tax increase. The day before, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton predicted that would be difficult: “If he wants to cut the income tax by 1 percentage point, that equates to $3.7 billion in lost revenue.”
* Cullerton dubious about Gov. Rauner’s budget promises: “My advice to him is why don’t you do the best budget you’ve ever done — a balanced one. And then run on that,” Cullerton said. “Be honest with people and maybe you won’t be so unpopular.”