Next stop Springfield... Progressive revenue a main point of April 1 actions...

... but in order to get 'progressive revenue' the Chicago Teachers Union now needs to introduce precise legislation in the Illinois General Assembly. And Illinois can only get a progressive income tax if the unions' side changes the Illinois Constitution, which currently forbids a progressive income tax.Now that the April 1, 2016 action has been completed and tens of thousands of teachers, students, and others have done a one-day strike and marched at dozens of locations across Chicago, the next phase of the campaign begins. With the Illinois General Assembly going back into session on Monday, April 4, the Chicago Teachers Union and its supporters will be helping launch legislation to finally provide Illinois with progressive revenue solutions, as has been demanded by the strike and other actions.

As of April 2, 2016, only one piece of legislative on the unions' main agenda has been passed by part of the General Assembly. The Illinois House has passed the bill that will result in an elected school board for Chicago. But that bill has yet to go before the Senate, and after that the House and Senate will have to vote to override the expected veto of the bill by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.


April 2, 2016 at 9:24 AM

By: Rod Estvan

glad there is an attempt again to change the constitution

As all CPS high school students know, or are supposed to know based on state law, the flat tax is mandated by the Illinois Constitution. We tried and failed to pass such an amendment abolishing the requirement of the flat income tax when Democrats held both the House and the Senate in Springfield and there was a Democrat Governor. It failed, because many Democrats oppose it.

But going at it again is worth the effort even if passage is unlikely at this time. Its still one of the most rational approach to the education funding crisis in Illinois.

Rod Estvan

April 2, 2016 at 12:03 PM

By: Krzysztof Rudzinski

Successful strike?

Congratulations! CPS saved about $10,000,000 by not paying you, poor Chicago teachers. I do not think that union leaders worked for free. It was an excellent event to celebrate April Fool. :)

April 2, 2016 at 8:53 PM

By: George Cruz

CTU & Springfield Next Move

The main issue the CTU and it's allies need to focus upon once the GA legislature return is making sure the democrat leadership is willing to use its "political capitol" in regards to passing additional revenue for education (especially for Chicago). There are downstate democrats who are opposed to some type of bailout for Chicago as a result of mismanagement of CPS as a result of mayoral control.

Focussing upon a progressive income tax based upon income versus a flat tax is a waste of time and strategically dangerous. Once the powers to be begin making changes to the constitution, you will have republicans coming out wanting to abolish the guaranteed pension protection clause if they agreed to giving in regards to the income tax. It would be equivalent to opening up pandoras box, which you don't want to do. The CTU needs to team up with CPS on certain issues and focus on realistic but strategic legislation that can be passed this year. For example...

The CTU needs to focus upon passage of the elected school board act in the senate and motivate the democrats use its super majority to over ride the potential veto threat by the governor. This issue alone transcends both political parties since everyone knows that the collapse of CPS is a direct result of mayoral control and mismanagement and corruption by CPS. This would be a win win for both parties.

The second agenda for CTU is to convince the GA to pass TIF reform by automatically declaring a TIF surplus and requiring the mayor to hand over 100% of TIF funds to CPS for the next 5 years in order to ensure proper revenue. In addition, to a full audit disclosure as to how much is in the fund etc.

The third agenda the CTU needs to gain is the political support for lifting the property tax limit (Even if temporary for a few years) in Chicago thru the GA. The direct result is the mayor would no longer be capped at how much they can tax, thus resulting in additional revenue for CPS.

The fourth agenda for the CTU to focus upon is having the state take over and merge the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund with TRS, thus freeing CPS of making those large hundred million dollar payments every year and freeing up revenue.

The last agenda and most difficult is changing the state education formula. Downstate Democrats are worried that their school districts would lose money and tax funding heading to Chicago. Downstate politicians don't want to be seen as bailing out Chicagoans with their tax dollars. I can only foresee this happening realistically after the general election and when new GA is sworn in next year.

The reality of the situation is the the CTU would be smart as to team up with CPS on certain key legislation, thus freeing up additional revenue and finally getting a fair contract that doesn't require teachers to be the sole sacrifice in the mess created as a direct result of mayoral control.

April 3, 2016 at 2:37 PM

By: David R. Stone

Springfield priorities

George Cruz lists some important legislative goals, but leaves out some others, such as:

- Repealing SB1 and returning our right to call a strike without a super-majority and a delaying timetable;

- Ending the mandated REACH teacher evaluations based on students' standardized test scores, and

- Eliminating the charter school commission that authorizes the creation of charter schools that even the Chicago Board of Education has rejected.


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