Dems push back on Rauner’s new measures

From Illinois News Network

Illinois’ Republican Governor is willing to increase funding for low income schools as part of a new proposal he is urging leading Democrats take up for a vote.

Governor Bruce Rauner in Chicago Monday pushed for a bill that works extra school funding in with several key factors of his Turnaround agenda.

First, there’s a two year property tax freeze. Second, there’s the ability to give local control to collective bargaining. The third issue is local control of prevailing wage. The governor says he’s not looking to ban collective bargaining. Instead, the Governor is looking to allow local voters to make the call instead of it being forced through state mandate.

“Many folks stand with our administration on this,” Rauner said. “Many folks stand with those who want to force collective bargaining in everything. Fine. Let local residence decide this issue. It’s a good compromise from those who want no collective bargaining and those who want forced collective bargaining in every regard.”

The governor’s proposal, dubbed the “Local Government Taxpayer Protection Act,” also includes what he says is unfunded mandate relief by allowing contracted services to be competitive. As for other issues like workers’ comp and tort reform, and independent map making commissions and term limits, Rauner says he’s not taking anything off the table, he’s trying to get movement on the issues.

Democratic leaders react to latest proposal

The reaction was swift and stern against the Governor’s latest proposal on freezing property taxes. A spokesperson for Senate President John Cullerton said the proposal is unacceptable and an attempt to mask what the Democrat says is the Governor’s intent to slash middle-class wages and benefits.

A spokesperson for Speaker Michael Madigan says lawmakers have been taking votes on similar issues and the budget should be the top focus.

Rauner unveiled his 157 page bill Monday in Chicago which he says also increases funding for low income school districts. Cullerton’s office says a plan to freeze property taxes and address school funding passed the Senate, but that measure does not include the local cost controls Republicans have pushed for passage.

Sen. Democrats pushing for MAP funding bill

Senate Democrats say they are compromising with a push for a bill to fund grants for college students at a lesser amount than they originally hoped.

As the state continues into Day 49 of the new fiscal year with no budget in place Senate Democrats say they plan to take up a measure to fund the Monetary Award Program, or MAP, grants. Map grants offer money to tens of thousands of students throughout the state for tuition assistance.

A posting from Senator Daniel Biss says the funding proposal would mirror what Governor Bruce Rauner recommended in his budget plan, nearly $374 million. The budget Democrats passed that the Governor vetoed contained an additional $24 million. The Senate is back in session Thursday.

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