Apr 13, 2015
Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s new proposed budget for Illinois includes 4.1 billion dollars in cuts to social programs, cities, education, healthcare – all kinds of services used by working people.
He proposes to cut funding for childcare assistance, for foster care, for public transportation including for people with disabilities, for Medicaid, for support for city and county governments – which means cuts to schools, parks and road maintenance; and he wants to cut state worker pensions.
Meanwhile, he wants to keep all the tax breaks and subsidies that go to big businesses in Illinois, like Google, Boeing, Ford, United Airlines, MillerCoors, Caterpillar, the financial speculators in downtown Chicago, and most importantly – the banks. These add up to many times the cuts in services.
The Democrats are right when they say this is a bill of terribles – but what hypocrites! When they controlled the state completely, they’re the ones who handed out all those tax breaks and subsidies to the rich. And today they could stop these cuts cold, since the Democrats have super-majorities in both the Illinois House and Senate. They make the laws, not the governor. The Democrats can pass what they like, and could easily override any veto made by Rauner. But instead, they want to make a deal, find a “compromise” to deal with the budget deficit. According to Mike Madigan, the Democratic Leader of the Illinois House, “The governor has said he feels he can eliminate the deficits just by cutting services. I disagree. I think elimination of the deficit will require a blend of service cuts and new revenue.” In other words, Madigan wants to cut services for workers a little less, but tax workers even more.
We all know what the end of this will be. The new budget will be terrible – but not quite as terrible as Rauner’s proposal. The Democrats will declare they defended workers from Rauner, and he will claim he held the line on expenses. That story will be repeated again and again – until workers find a way to fight and put our interests first.