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Senate Passes Property Tax Freeze, School Funding Redo

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Local property taxes would be frozen for two years under a measure approved Tuesday by the Illinois Senate. That's on Gov. Bruce Rauner's wish-list, but Republicans are still against the plan.

After a failed attempt last month, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton shepherded his proposal through.

How much money local governments could ask taxpayers for would be stuck for a couple years -- something Rauner, a Republican, insists happen before he'll negotiate with Democrats on the budget.

Cullerton characterizes the effort as a sort of olive branch. "Well we want to move forward on reforms, if we can, to try to show him that we're at least listening to him on his concern about his Turnaround Agenda," Culleton said.

But Republicans voted against it, quoting Rauner's maxim that to deal with a freeze, local governments need freedom to control costs by tossing prevailing wage and collective bargaining requirements.

"I just don't see it as broadly as he has proposed it," Cullerton says of those demands, which are seen as weakening unions.

Cullerton's property tax freeze legislation also wipes out Illinois' formula for funding schools, and gives Illinois a couple of years to come up with a new method.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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