On Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner gave his budget address in Springfield calling for compromise and structural fixes to reform Illinois, which has not had a budget for eight months. Rauner called for a clean education funding bill to increase early childhood spending by 25 percent, and to fully fund general state aid for the first time in seven years.
The following statements from education and budget experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank based in Illinois – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.
“I applaud what Gov. Rauner is trying to accomplish with his proposed budget, but I’m skeptical anything will change in Illinois’ political culture that will undo this state’s rapidly approaching fiscal reckoning.
“As for the education portion of the address, I would have preferred that the governor spent less time pointing how much he is increasing funding on education, and instead spent more time speaking on how he would like to improve school choice options for Illinois families.
“Hearing him say that one day he would like to see every child in Illinois have the opportunity to attend the school of their choice, including secular and religious private schools, without their family being penalized financially would lift the spirits of school choice proponents all over the state.”
“Gov. Rauner’s call for an increase in education funding fulfills a promise from his run for office. While this is a realistic approach given the dynamics in the Illinois legislature, it is a missed opportunity to call for more education choice.
“More money will not provide all students access to a good education. Education choice is the only avenue to quality educational access for Illinois children. Illinois must embrace full education choice. Until it does teacher unions, district administrators, and politicians will continue calling for increased school funding no matter how much they receive.”
“Illinois is in the midst of an eight-months-long impasse over the 2016 state budget between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic legislature. Rauner’s speech has not soothed the residents of Illinois. According to a 2013 Gallup 50-state poll, Illinois residents are the least confident in their state government, the lowest among the 50 states by a significant margin. This week’s budget address could not have possibly increased the confidence of a single resident of Illinois.”
The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.