llinois House pummels governor's
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[August 17, 2017]
By Dave McKinney
CHICAGO, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The
Democratic-led Illinois House on Wednesday voted down an education
spending plan modeled after a proposal by Republican Governor Bruce
Rauner, deepening a partisan rift that has led to a disruption in state
funding for schools.
Rauner has blocked and substantially rewritten a portion of a
Democratic-backed overhaul for school funding that he described as a
“bailout” for Chicago’s cash-strapped public school system.
The vote imperiled $6.7 billion due to more than 800 school districts
and caused Illinois to miss its initial August payment to schools for
the first time, creating a new fiscal quagmire for a state that only
last month emerged from a two-year budget impasse.
The fiscal 2018 budget enacted by the legislature in July over Rauner's
vetoes required enactment of a so-called evidence-based education
funding formula before state aid could be distributed to Illinois school
districts. Rauner subsequently vetoed the school-funding formula change.
Illinois' fiscal hardships have led to it having the lowest bond rating
in the country. The state has one of the worst-funded pension systems in
the United States, and its two years without a budget more than doubled
its backlog of unpaid bills, which now stands at $14.2 billion.
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The House voted on Wednesday on legislation that incorporated
Rauner’s recommended changes, but the measure did not draw a single
vote of support, causing it to fail.
Republicans derided the effort as political theater by Democrats.
“Today’s vote is nothing more than show. It’s a sham vote, and the
fact is it’s not ever going to go anywhere,” Illinois House
Republican Leader Jim Durkin said.
Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said after the
vote that he intended to call the House back next Wednesday for an
override vote and hoped “reasonable Republicans” would break with
Rauner to join Democrats in blocking the governor’s veto.
Madigan and Illinois’ three other legislative leaders are scheduled
to meet on Friday for school-funding talks. (Editing by Marcy
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