The passage of the school funding bill on August 29 illustrates how Illinois has been subjected to a “shock doctrine” or “shock therapy” play by Governor Rauner. Rauner has brought Illinois to the brink of economic disaster by his refusal to sign a state budget for two years. After suffering for two years, with agencies closing all over the state and employees losing their jobs, a budget was finally passed by overriding Rauner's veto. We thought we could sigh with relief. But wait -- Rauner vetoed the school funding bill next. For the first time in history, Illinois missed paying K-12 schools in time for the start of the school year. We're in crisis again. A compromise bill is created that Rauner will sign off on which finally funds schools more equitably, but there's a string attached. Public money (up to $75 million) -- our taxes which should be paying for services for the people of Illinois -- is going to be used to give tax breaks to the rich who donate money to PRIVATE schools. This is a typical Republican scheme -- create or exacerbate a crisis and use it to push through your agenda. In this case, the agenda is to weaken the public school system in Illinois by enacting what is essentially a voucher system using tax payer money. Taxes have to pay for the $75 million, so in a very real sense it is a tax increase. The next election for governor cannot come soon enough -- Rauner has to go before he completely destroys Illinois.
Ellen Wolcott, Charleston