|Old Napa Valley Winery pals greet each other at Council meeting.|
I listened to Gov. Rauner's speech before the City Council yesterday and came away wondering why he even bothered. He had nothing of import to say and came off like an ignorant boob. With protesting unionists gathering outside the council chambers, Rauner skipped even a mention of his so-called right-to-work (for less) zones.
Well actually, he did make a couple of points. The first was laughable. He's pitting down-staters against Chicagoans and threatening secession (?) unless Chicago accepts his turn-around agenda and austerity program (massive cuts in education and social services).
"When I'm south of I-80 and I ask an audience what we need to do to turn Illinois around, you know what the number-one answer I get? The most frequent response is, 'secede from Chicago.' I'm not making that up. I'm not making that up."Whenever a politician keeps repeating that he's "not making that up", I always suspect that he's making it up. But if he's not, it says more about Rauner's tiny base of Dixie-whistling, neo-confederates than anything else.
The second -- not so laughable -- was that Chicago schools are receiving much too big a share of state school funding. Yes, he's pitting downstate against Chicago on school funding too all while he's screwing school districts statewide.
gets an "F" in evaluations of the fairness of its funding distribution between low- and high-poverty school districts. The state usually ranks third from last compared to other states, in its share of school funding . Most school funding comes from local property taxes, not state funding.
The State of Illinois provides only 26% of total education dollars, down from a high of 48%. About 8% of funding comes from the federal government, primarily for special education. The remaining 66% comes from local sources.
And the state has consistently failed to contribute it's required share of pension funding, thereby causing the current crisis. State policy effectively forces residents in economically struggling communities to pay higher property tax rates for local schools than those in similarly valued homes in more affluent areas.
Rauner claimed that Chicago gets "hundreds of millions of dollars" a year in other money, mostly for anti-poverty programs, that "no other community gets."
Uh, yeah. That's because Chicago has more people living in poverty. Get it?
Hey, but at least the governor didn't refer to Chicago as a "black hole" the way Republicans used to do back in the 90's. But basically, it's the same idea.
Before Rauner spoke, the City Council approved a $5.5 million reparations package for victims of police torture under the watch of disgraced police commander Jon Burge. Click here for a live video stream of the council meeting.