Stopgap budget passage was a major compromise, Rep. Ives says
Prior to the passage of the stopgap budged this summer, Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) said it was a major compromise but the positive side is the funding for education, given that this is the most money ever spent on K-12 education in the state of Illinois.
“It’s a total of $11.1 billion,” Ives said. “That’s just over a billion more than we had in FY16, all going for K through 12. So he (Gov. Bruce Rauner) added additional funds even above what he wanted for education.”
Politicians fought for months to pass a comprehensive budget that would at least allow Illinois schools to open up in time for the fall. After long deliberation, they came up with this temporary agreement that would also continue funding for prisons and disabled programs through January.
“It’s exactly what this is, this is a complete compromise,” Ives said. “It does not have any reforms so we really need to get back and talk about doing that long term.”
Ives said most of the programs come from several funds including other state funds, so that citizens are not being taxed more than usual.
"Basically the stopgap says, 'Look, we’re not going to play that game again in separate bills, we’re going to fund this all for six months and get back to the table for a long-term solution,'” Ives said.
Democrats will vote on an actual budget after the November election. For now, the stopgap budget allows temporary funding for services across the state such as programs for veterans and the mentally disabled.
The stopgap budget also funds road construction projects throughout Illinois. The Department of Corrections will also continue to receive funding to pay for food and utilities for inmates until the beginning of next year.
“Chicago…is getting an additional hundred million dollars,” Ives said. “They’re getting a specific $25 million for early childhood education. And then on top of it, part of this whole package of bills includes a $205 million payment to the pension fund.”
Legislators will dish out the temporary funding until government finds a pension plan it can agree on. And although the state of Illinois does not want to bail out Chicago Public Schools because of past history of it being misspent, and corrupt, Chicago is receiving $400 million more following the stopgap budget passage.
“Chicago’s never run a referendum, they have extremely low property taxes, especially for residential, when you look at a percentage of the value of the home compared to all other sorts of districts,” Ives said. “And it’s time for those Chicagoans to actually pay for their schools.”
Ives said the answer to some of the issues is to just lower the cost of higher education.
“Most of our higher education institutions are the highest in the conference by literally $2,000 to $3,000…,” Ives said. “My point to you is the overall cost has to come down.”
Editor's note: The initial version of this story quoted Rep. Jeanne Ives saying the the cost of higher education "are the highest in the conference by literally two hundred thousand dollars." The figure should have read $2,000 to $3,000.