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Illinois teachers and taxpayers to Rauner:

2/17/2016

"Heed your own advice — stop playing games, and start making working families a real priority"

In response to Governor Rauner’s speech about a second budget after failing to pass a first, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery and Chicago State University professor Gabriel Gomez issued the following statements.

Montgomery:

“While we share Governor Rauner’s desire to increase education funding, we’ve heard his campaign speeches too many times before. His call today for a 'clean bill with no games' is particularly ironic given his record of misleading proposals and extreme demands that have hurt ordinary families and put low-income college students in peril as he promises to veto MAP grant funding. His own games and irresponsible priorities have prevented a first budget while he speaks about a second. Rauner’s words are important, but his actions don’t inspire trust.

Less than a week after his State of the State address in which he encouraged more bipartisanship, Rauner attacked legislative leaders, blamed teachers for Chicago’s financial crisis, and suggested an impractical school takeover plan he knew would violate the law.

Weeks later, just a few hours after President Obama returned home to speak about pursuing better politics, Governor Rauner told a crowd in central Illinois that by refusing to negotiate a state budget until his inflexible conditions were met, he was 'winning.'

As an English teacher, I found his word choice revealing. You don’t 'win' at leadership. You win at a game, and that’s what this is to Governor Rauner: a political game where regular people have to lose in his unapologetic pursuit to win.

College students whose schools may close next month are not winning. High school seniors and their families who are canceling their futures without the assurance of tuition assistance aren’t winning. Single parents who have lost child care funding and don’t know who will watch their kids while they work to make ends meet aren’t winning. Seniors who rely on home health care, people struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, or family-run companies who depend on small business centers to grow aren’t winning, as all of those critical social services shutter their doors.

Working families are suffering and sacrificing, because Governor Rauner refuses to work together or ask the most wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share.


Budgets reveal priorities, and for the good of Illinois, we hope what’s past isn’t prologue. For the good of Illinois, we implore the Governor to stop playing games, put people first, and work to pass a complete budget."


**The Governor failed to mention but his budget documents reveal (p. 473-489) more than 25% in proposed cuts to higher education institutions across the state.**

IFT member and Chicago State University professor Gabriel Gomez highlighted the long-term damage Governor Rauner is doing to our state by failing to enact a complete budget that adequately funds public colleges, universities, and students in need. He pointed out that making empty promises about K-12 schools while ignoring or cutting funding to higher education is short–sighted:

"CSU students come from Chicago Public Schools. They come from the south and west sides of the city. They come from the near suburbs. They come from families where college is often out of reach, but the only way to get a better job and build a better life. They are predominantly African-American and facing numerous challenges in their communities, from crime to hunger to poverty and racism. Many of our students are raising families of their own, on their own, and working full-time while attending school,” said Gomez.

It makes me angry that the Governor would allow these students – who so many have given up on – to suffer, all because he refuses to ask the very wealthy to pay a dime more. High school students and their families can’t plan for the year ahead. They don’t know if they’ll have MAP grant tuition assistance – or even a college that’s open for business.”

Gomez highlighted the Governor’s wrong priorities in advance of his State of the State address as well, featured here (1:30m) on WCIA (Springfield).

Numerous college educators and students from across Illinois are gathering at the Capitol today to send this message to Governor Rauner.



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