Today was the first time since Governor Rauner took office that he and lawmakers in both chambers successfully negotiated - and passed - a budget prior to the start of the new Fiscal Year. The appropriations bill, HB 109, passed the Senate (56-2) on Wednesday and was approved this afternoon by the House (97-18).
There is good news to report in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. It includes:
A $402 million funding increase for PreK-12 education, including $350 million that will be distributed through the new Evidence-Based Model (EBM) of school funding and $50 million for Early Childhood education
A 2 percent funding increase for higher education
Funding of Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants for needy students at FY18 levels
$7.7 billion for new capital appropriations, including $1.7 billion for improvements on various state facilities and $81 million in school construction and maintenance projects.
Both chambers also approved HB 4290, which appropriates $63 million in back pay owed to state workers, including IFT members in the Illinois Federation of Public Employees (Local 4408).
Unfortunately, there is bad news too. The budget includes a pension “reform” measure that lowers the limitation on end-of-career salary increases.
Currently, school districts and higher education institutions can provide salary increases of up to 6 percent without incurring additional pension payments. The new budget lowers that to 3 percent, giving public education employers a bargaining chip to avoid pension costs. IFT opposed this so-called “reform,” and hundreds of IFT members made calls to their lawmakers to voice their opposition. Despite our strong objections, the end of career salary limitation was included in the final budget.
Read our detailed analysis of the entire budget here.
We’re glad to see lawmakers from both sides of the aisle work together to reach an agreement, and we’re pleased to hear that Governor Rauner is expected to sign it.
However, we cannot forget - or forgive - the damage that this Governor has already done. From his more than two-year budget impasse that devastated higher education and eliminated critical programs for our neediest citizens to his ongoing battles against collective bargaining and worker rights, Governor Rauner continues to make it clear that education and every day men and women are not his priorities.
That’s why our priority must be defeating Governor Rauner and electing lawmakers who share our values on November 6.
You play a critical role! Please plan to attend your Regional IFT PAC meeting to make your voice heard about which candidates deserve our union’s support! Meetings begin as soon as June 6. Learn more about IFT PAC and RSVP for a meeting here.