Governor Pat Quinn's candidate for lieutenant governor says Republican Bruce Rauner's budget plan would mean bad news for schools in Illinois. Democrat Paul Vallas says Rauner's promises to both put more money into schools while also cutting property taxes is unfeasible.
Vallas says Rauner's plan to roll back the state's income tax to three percent would create a $4 billion hole in Illinois' education budget. Vallas says that translates to nearly 28,000 in teacher layoffs.
Rauner has repeatedly said he wants Illinois to "grow its way" out of deficits, meaning that he believes building a more robust economy, not raising taxes, will bring in more revenue to pay for things like schools.
But Vallas says Rauner's vision is impossible.
"You're not going to grow to the tune of $8 billion in two years or even for that matter, three or four years," he said. "You're talking about devastating local school budgets."
Vallas, who used to run the Chicago Public School system, says Rauner's plan is "insulting to voters." Property taxes are the main source of revenue for schools, followed by the state's contribution. Vallas says Rauner can't starve both.
A Rauner spokesman says Vallas' study is made up, and says classroom funding has decreased under Quinn. The Rauner campaign also says Vallas's numbers are unfounded, but has not provided a fully-detailed breakout of how his budget plan would make up for lost revenue.
Gov. Quinn wants Illinois' 5 percent income tax rate made permanent. The 5 percent rate, implemented temporarily in 2011, is scheduled to sunset in the new year. Quinn's appeals to lawmakers during the General Assembly's Spring session ultimately went nowhere.
Vallas made his remarks at the Illinois Education Association's Professional Development Center in Springfield. The IEA has endorsed Gov. Quinn's ticket, though Vallas has been in favor of charter schools — something the IEA says takes funding away from traditional public schools.