In Springfield when state lawmakers see a “problem,” they “fix it” by mandating our schools do something about it: No advice, no support and especially no money from them, but ooh, baby, does it feel good to do something “for the kids.”
They scratched that itch only 12 times during the ’90s, but creating an unfunded school mandate makes your average state lawmaker so giddy that they’ve done it 132 times since 2000.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is suggesting a little restraint. Getting rid of a few of those dictates sans dollars could save taxpayers more than $200 million.
Those changes would include letting local school districts make local decisions about PE, driver’s ed and outsourcing school bus or janitor services.
You would think savings would be important to state lawmakers because they are asking Illinois taxpayers, yet again, for more money so they can spend $6 billion more than they have. But no, they cry that any proposal intended to curb their decades of excesses would “hurt working families.”
Especially galling this time is the state lawmakers’ claim that any savings would not impact the state budget.
Let us translate: They only care about their pot of money, not your pocket and all 6,963 units of Illinois government that want a piece of you.
We are 84 days into the new budget year without a state budget. Property tax relief, curbing lawmakers’ stranglehold on policy and spending, and improving Illinois’ business climate so jobs return and tax revenue rises naturally all need to be part of Springfield’s repentance before they ask to be granted salvation by taxpayers.
Mike Madigan, John Cullerton and their legislative followers are already putting a lot more hurt on working families than any of the future ills they ascribe to Rauner and his turnaround agenda.