Saturday, January 14, 2006

Money Problems

Ralph Martire has an interesting piece on his view of Illinois' budget situation in today's Chicago Sun-Times. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Fom a state government perspective, the new year certainly came in with a bang. The gubernatorial primary is hitting its stride, the General Assembly has a shortened, fast-track session, and the governor just proposed a significant capital improvement plan calling for a $3.2 billion infrastructure investment. Meanwhile, continuing a 15-year trend, the Illinois private sector is creating more low- than high-paying jobs that either provide reduced or no health benefits. Making matters worse, the feds are cutting Medicaid, pushing costs down to the state as demand for the program increases....

The funny thing about borrowing to fund services is, the debt has to be repaid, with interest, from tax revenue growth. The prospects for that happening aren't good. If state revenue growth this year hits the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimate, it will still fall short of inflation by almost $400 million. That means there won't even be enough revenue next year to sustain the services funded with taxes this year, much less cover the cost of services currently financed with debt...

Martire concludes with the following statements:

This fiscal uncertainty clouds the fact that the governor's proposed capital investment program, like his solid commitment to ensuring families and seniors have access to health care, addresses real needs in Illinois. Since that's the case, let's design a tax system that has the capacity to meet these needs in a sustainable fashion. A combination of modernizing the sales tax by including some services, increasing the income tax, reducing property taxes and providing targeted tax relief to middle- and low-income workers, will generate the recurring revenue needed to fund the state's priorities, while maintaining Illinois' competitive advantage of being a low tax state. Doesn't that sound better than betting the rent on number 13?
Feel free to think about or discuss.


At January 14, 2006 at 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much are we paying you?

How much is your annual salary received for being a state representative?

At January 15, 2006 at 12:49 AM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...


The Emperor has no clothes. If chidren are underfunded, it is because the bloated education bureaucracy is overfunded.

Failure to properly educate a child while getting $8,000 grand a year for that child should be grounds for firing.

Martire wants his cake (absurd property tax levies) and to eat it too (absurd state levies).

Do the right thing. Throw the corrupt education bureaucracy off the bus and start funding children, not systems.

At January 15, 2006 at 8:31 AM, Anonymous Cassandra said...

Mr. Martire appears to have one goal in life and that is to raise my taxes and give the money to corrupt politicians, bloated state bureaucracies, school districts which don't care to tax themselves adequately for the education of their children, and already overpaid school teachers and administrators.

The wealthy, including wealthy public commntators, don't care if taxes go up because they don't feel the pain of increased taxation.

I do. And it's the middle class which ends up paying for all the corruption and waste, not people like Mr. Martire.

At January 15, 2006 at 10:47 AM, Anonymous Cap'n Crud said...

As is often the case, some bad apples stand out from the rest, spoiling the appearances of all.

Sure, there's bloat in education administration, just as there is in any line of work. Does that mean that every teacher in every school in every school district is on the take? For a from-the-trenches opinion, ask the school superintendent who also acts as a school principal, a teacher and a bus driver -- a woman in Sparta, IL, who was featured in a recent news story that I'll post here if I can find it again.

Many, many of our children are being taught in schools with the support of such hard-working individuals .. these kids, and their educators, need better support. So don't throw those babies out with the bathwater of knee-jerk criticisms of "bloat."

At January 15, 2006 at 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cap'n crud:

When the examples you refer to are the norm rather than the exception, I'll follow you off the cliff. Until then, I'm more in Cassandra's camp.

At January 15, 2006 at 5:27 PM, Blogger JB Powers said...

cap'n crud,

Yes, it is the norm.

Teachers are offered early retirement in most of the state after 30 years of service. They can the skip town at age 51 with 100% of their previous salary and full benefits for themselves and their family for the rest of their life.

That is the norm for Teachers, and very few others. That is bloat.

At January 16, 2006 at 8:55 AM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...


No one argues that there aren't good people in education. However, we are long past the time where that can be used as an excuse for the absurd expansion in spending.

For every district like Sparta, there is another that is scamming PTELL loopholes, or cheating the taxpayers through other means (Jersey Co. comes to mind)

Many people who worked for Enron were good people. That doesn't mean the enterprize wasn't corrupt.

So it is for Public Ed. The entire structure is designed for waste, and therefore prone to fraud.

Fund Children, not systems.
1. Abolish the "District"
2. Convert every school to an independent charter
3. Repeal all mandates
4. Pass HB750
5. Abolish the Local tax for schools entirely

That isn't a "knee jerk" reaction, Cap'n. It's a viable alternative to the current system.

It makes economic sense, education sense, and will benefit the good people you talk.

At January 16, 2006 at 8:56 AM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...


At January 16, 2006 at 9:41 PM, Blogger Amy Allen said...

Martire raises a lot of valid points. And, the administration's seemingly fuzzy numbers aren't helping things, either. If "keno" revenue really does amount to their projections, it will be nearly six years before it reaches the $500 mil. mark, not to mention the interest on the bonds.

At January 17, 2006 at 8:03 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Hey John ( not you Fritchey!)
Your post is complete crap. I guess if you can't make a legitimate argument here in blogland you just lie and hope someone will believe it.
Vouchers are not only unconstitutional, but they would lead to an exclusionary, elitist, education system where elite schools would exclude students who, for whatever reason, could not maintain their artificially high requirements.
Where would the lower income, remedial, or special needs students attend? Probably at whatever would be left of the public system which, due to the to an even greater lack of funds, would be even less effective than they are today.
The answer to improving our schools in Illinois is to increase revenue and accountability. Teacher salaries and pensions need to be increased so that we can recruit and retain the best possible teachers in this state. Attacking teachers and their pensions is having the opposite effect. Technology should be state of the art, not only in rich districts but in urban and rural districts also.
I agree that districts bloated with layers of overpaid bureaucrats need to be trimmed and reformed, but the solution is not scrapping the system and subjecting our children to some Darwinian, sink or swim, system.

At January 17, 2006 at 10:31 AM, Anonymous Truthful James said...

Bill --

Your arguments don't hold water, they make water. So stop the bombast and the drivel

Saying vouchers are unconstitutional does not mean they would not be the best solution.

Suppose the State in all of its alleged wisdom decides that 8 grand per student would provide for an education,

Suppose also that charter schools, private schools or whatever, regulated as to content by an up to date ISBE charges 6 grand for eight classroom hours of approved secular education.

If the District controls the full amnount of the funding, allocating money to portability provides a surplus of 2 grand for each student moved. That money is then available within the District to serve the remaining student body -- more money per student is available.

Now where are the teachers coming from? from qualified teacher in the public schools and from from qualified teachers transferring from other career, whose moement into the public schools has been union impeded.

At January 17, 2006 at 10:48 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Truthful James (Oberwiess),

"Saying vouchers are unconstitutional does not mean they would not be the best solution."

Spoken like (and as well as) a true Republican. Good luck in the primary.

At January 20, 2006 at 7:51 AM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...


Repeating the sentence "Vouchers are unconstitutional" over and over does not make it true.

The US Sup. Ct. specifically found them Constitutional.

Here in Illinois, there is the bigoted "Blaine" language, which the Illinois Supreme Court has not yet ruled on.

(given that most of the Illinois Sup. Ct. is purchased by the Trial Bar and Teachers Unions, a poorly crafted law would certainly cause them to do their master's bidding, as they did with the 1994 Liability Law.)

The fact remains that the moment there are enough "independent schools" that are non-religious, the entire "constitutionality" issue is moot.

That is why we need to make every current public school an independent charter.

Your proposed solutions are typical of some one who is either in, or supports, the current unsustainable system.

One more dime for the existing system is a criminal waste.

The idea that vouchers would benefit the weathly and create an elitist system is idiotic.

Under my proposal, the rich in Lake Forest would continue to pour money down the "progressivist" drain while poor city kids would get $7-8000 grand to open hundreds of KIPP schools.

With in a few years, they would be outperforming the pampered white mice in Deweyesque idiotland.

You get the same offer I've given anyone anywhere.

Debate me. Here. In a forum of your choice. City, Downstate, on the radio...anywhere.

If an educated populace is your goal, there is no intellectually sound argument against vouchers.

Fund Children - not "systems."


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