Rauner: No more 'special deals' for Chicago

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Gov. Bruce Rauner said Wednesday there will be no "special deals for Chicago" as Senate Democrats passed a proposal that would temporarily freeze property taxes statewide. (WLS)

Gov. Bruce Rauner said Wednesday there will be no "special deals for Chicago" as Senate Democrats passed a proposal that would temporarily freeze property taxes statewide.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says the Illinois Senate's version of property tax relief is not what he had in mind. And he'll oppose the measure despite the help it offers Chicago Public Schools.

At his news conference, the governor said the two-year property tax freeze passed by the Senate did not go far enough. He wants the measure to give local units of government the right to decide what they will or will not negotiate with labor unions.

"What gets bargained, what doesn't - that should be controlled locally. That shouldn't be mandated by Springfield," Gov. Rauner said.

In Illinois, taxpayer-supported projects are required by law to pay union workers the so-called "prevailing wage." The governor wants to give local governments the right to negotiate "project labor agreements" as private contractors usually do.

"We have included that ability in our property tax freeze legislation. It's critically important," Rauner said.

"Here is where the governor's advocacy of that position bumps up against core beliefs of both Democrats and Republicans," said State Rep. Mike Madigan, D-House Speaker.

The property tax freeze bill also includes language to help the Chicago Public Schools system pay its pension debt. CPS officials repeated their warning to all in Springfield that without relief soon, severe cuts will happen in January.

"We will be in a situation (where) we will have to make additional cuts, additional layoffs of teachers and more unsustainable borrowing," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said.

"There is a certain tipping point where we could no longer offer a high-quality education," CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said.

Speaker Madigan would not commit to the Senate bill, despite its provisions to help his hometown schools.

"We think we need a little time to completely understand the impact of the bill," he said.

Also, the governor - while expressing his opposition to the Senate bill - lashed out at calls to treat CPS differently than other school districts in the state.

"We should treat the people of Illinois equitably and fairly and stop doing special deals for Chicago," Rauner said.

Speaker Madigan says a House committee will consider the property tax freeze/CPS aid bill when the legislature re-convenes next week in Springfield.

Insiders say it's a long shot to pass and has virtually no chance to be signed by the governor in its current form.

Related Topics:
politicspoliticsBruce Raunercpsproperty taxesChicago - DowntownSpringfield
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