Strick: "We have to make more sense of what is going on"
While the Chicago Teachers Unions (CTU) decided not to strike on Oct. 11, Mike Strick, the Republican candidate for the District 84 state House seat, remains disappointed at the CTU.
A proponent of education and student welfare, he alleged that the union has forgotten what is most important.
“It is supposedly all about the students and yet CPS (Chicago Public Schools) has only about a 40 percent graduation rate,” Strick told the DuPage Policy Journal. “So what is wrong with this picture? It is ridiculous. It is utterly ridiculous and there needs to be change in Chicago, especially for that type of thing. When their superintendent makes over $300,000…it’s a ridiculous amount of money. That is more than the president makes.”
A tentative agreement was allegedly made between the union and the city, but Strick asserted that the demands by the CTU were unreasonable and no longer focused on furthering education but on deepening the pockets of the union.
“It’s not about the kids,” he said. “It’s all about ingratiating these people’s pension and pay raises. It’s disingenuous to keep coming back to the citizens. There needs to be a pay freeze. I just can’t see it going on (further). That is why Chicago wants more of our hard earned. It’s to pay these people these outrageous sums of money.”
Strick contended that there need to be cuts to staff and to borrowing.
“They need to do a lot of cuts with some of their staff in Chicago,” he said. “That would really help the CPS take care of its $300 million shortfall. (They need to) stop borrowing so much money because they are at a junk status and it just costs more and more money to borrow. It’s time to make some drastic cuts.”
Strick emphasized that he is not disparaging hard-working teachers, especially inner-city teachers. He stated that their jobs can be difficult and sometimes dangerous. However, he insisted on common sense policies and spending.
The state’s spending has been a point of contention for many candidates and voters. Its credit rating took another hit recently as S&P Global Ratings reduced Illinois credit down to BBB from BBB+.
Strick expounded that the state needs to have a budget and cannot support House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) any further.
“Again, we need to come up with a budget,” Strick said. “Mike Madigan is going to bankrupt our state. He is the Speaker of the House and makes the rules for anything in the House. All bills go through Mike Madigan. (He) is the problem with Illinois. He is going to bring the state to near bankruptcy if he keeps up with his policies of ‘my way or no way.’ That is why I am running. We need to make sure that Mike Madigan does not become the next Speaker of the House.”
The state’s fiscal problems are compounded by a report that its deficit may be double what was originally thought – close to $16 billion for fiscal year 2017. Its deficit is not because of its revenue stream, contended Strick.
“Illinois does not have a revenue problem,” Strick said. “You know what we have? We have a spending problem and these unfunded mandates that come out through Mike Madigan.”
He pointed out an example of frivolous spending enacted by Madigan: an unfunded mandate for same-day registration and voting.
“Well, the law came and it was unconstitutional,” Strick said. “In the mean time, each and every county had to come up with the funds to provide for early voting and same-day registration. Do you know much it cost Will County just to come up with that program? $1.6 million to come up with that unfunded mandate that was ruled unconstitutional. So Will County spent $1.6 million for nothing. Now you times that by every county out there and how much money did that cost the state?”
Strick estimated it to be over $100 million. Illinois can not continue on its current path, he declared.
“We’re struggling to find money to pay for our social services and people in need and yet (we have this) unfunded mandate that came about and was found unconstitutional,” Strick said. “It came down from Mike Madigan and his cohorts to try and get as many votes as they could.”
He concluded that, if he were elected, he would go against the reckless spending policies in the State Capitol.
“I want to try and cut spending,” Strick said. “I want to try to take care of these unfunded mandates we have in the court. We have to get these overthrown. We have to make more sense of what is going.”
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