WESTMONT – Following Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget address, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued this statement in response.
“Hopefully for the last time, today Governor Bruce Rauner presented us with yet another budget built with fairy dust,” said IFT President Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher.
“Rauner claims his budget is balanced, but it relies on phony savings and a hope that we’ll forget his lack of leadership or honesty for the past three years.
“He claims to be investing more money in our public schools, yet last year’s funding still hasn’t reached our most vulnerable students because of the Governor’s political demands. And when you do the math instead of taking him at his word, you learn that the new money he’s proposing today will be offset by additional costs he wants to impose.
“Rauner claims to be fighting for lower property taxes, but his proposal to shift pension costs to local school districts and universities will force taxes to go up, and those citizens and schools to suffer even more.
“He claims to support higher education, yet created chaos for students who rely on MAP grants, forced five public universities into junk bond status and layoffs, and proposed deep cuts to state funding. And today, he offered more funding uncertainty with one hand and permanent new costs with the other.
“Rauner claims to value educators and senior citizens, but suggests defunding healthcare for retired teachers, all while people are increasingly reluctant to enter this important profession.
“He claims to fight for working people, yet refuses to speak out against the Trump tax scam that hurts middle-class families and opposes a progressive income tax where the wealthy pay their fair share.
“Governor Rauner claims that he’s not in charge, and on that, we’ll concede he’s right. After two years without budget, the only reason Illinois had one last year was because lawmakers from both parties stepped up to do the Governor’s job for him.”
The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) is made up of more than 100,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.