Illinois Federation of Teachers applauds Governor Pritzker for balancing budget, proposing tax relief, investing in schools, and paying for pensions
WESTMONT – Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued this statement today following Governor Pritzker’s budget address.
“From the start of the pandemic, Governor Pritzker has steadfastly followed the science to protect our communities and move our state forward. We thank him for establishing mask and vaccine mandates that are helping keep our schools open and students and staff safe.
“The budget Governor Pritzker proposed today prioritizes the needs of students and educators and the delivery of public services to our most vulnerable Illinoisans. His proposed $350 million increase is a step toward adequately funding K-12 schools, especially in our neediest communities. But preK-12 funding is still billions of dollars short of the Evidence Based-Model funding target, which would provide the resources to educate every Illinois child well, no matter their zip code. We urge Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to work toward fully funding the Evidence Based-Model.
“Critically, the state’s higher education system is suffering from decades of disinvestment. We are encouraged by the supplemental FY22 increase in funding for community colleges and universities that carries over to FY23. We urge the legislature to include this vital increase in higher education funding in the final budget.
“We also welcome the long-overdue recognition that the state must pay its bills – including the unfunded pension liability. The governor has proposed $500 million in pension funding over and above the required payment. This saves the state money in the long term and it’s the right thing to do.
“The pandemic will have lasting economic effects on students, educators, school staff, and communities of color. We applaud the governor for taking the necessary steps to assist in their recovery by providing some tax relief. The cuts to grocery and gas taxes and doubling the state property tax rebate will help provide the support that Illinois families need right now.
“The IFT looks forward to continuing to work with Governor Pritzker as he focuses on the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”