March 12, 2018: an update

Last July, the Illinois state legislature was finally able to come up with a state budget, over the veto of Bruce Rauner, after 2 years of not having one. Illinois had piled up a backlog of $15 billion of unpaid bills to suppliers, and was on the verge of being downgraded to junk bond status. Even then, if Bruce had had his way, Illinois would have gone a third year without a budget, which would almost certainly have brought about the closure of a number of state universities, and even more drastic cuts to social services, and continued nonpayment to contractors and suppliers of basic services. While the state does now have an operating budget, it has still not paid off its backlog of bills, let alone its pension obligations.

Let’s be clear:
Bruce Rauner had no intention of reaching an agreement.

His so-called “turnaround agenda” is a scam. His deal: let him destroy the unions and pay state workers as little as he feels like, or he’ll take down every public university and community college, and let the poor and the elderly go hungry and die. And blame the Democrats. All so that millionaires won't have to pay more in taxes.

The current situation:

Illinois has not funded colleges since June of 2015. (note: this was true until July of 2017.)

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois laid off 750 people and cut services to 4,700 clients

This is a major service provider contracted by the State of Illinois.

Community Rape Crisis Center Forced to Make Cuts

According to their website, "Without additional funding, RACES is facing further service cuts and potential closure later this year."

Illinois owes Catholic Charities $26 million

"We provide more than $2 million in services each month on behalf of the State – for which we have not been reimbursed since July 1... We serve 1 million of the most vulnerable people in our state – seniors, children, veterans, families... $2 million per month is an unsustainable amount."


Here's Bruce's reasoning:
It's all for a good cause.

It's the duty of state workers to work for next to nothing, and have a crummy life, so that rich people won't have to pay taxes. In order to make this happen, Bruce needs unilateral power to destroy collective bargaining. So, either make Bruce king, or he'll close down every state university and junior college, and abandon the sick and the elderly and rape victims. Why should rich people be asked to support schools and state services? They can afford to send their kids to private schools, so piss on everyone else. When it's every man for himself, there's no room for thinking about other people.
See details of his turnaround plan here.

"I am adamantly, adamantly against raising the minimum wage."   
— Bruce Rauner

This is one way rich people get rich: They pay workers next to nothing, threaten to take away their jobs if they complain, and keep all the money for themselves. The unions are the last, best barrier stopping them. That's why Bruce is so intent on destroying them.

Illinois state workers make too much money.

Nonsense. In fact, Illinois has fewer state workers per capita than any other state in the country except Florida. According to labor expert Robert Bruno of the University of Illinois, "State and local government workers in Illinois earn incomes that are 13.5 percent less on average than workers in the private sector with a comparable education... When you control for education and other demographic variables, it turns out that public sector workers suffer a wage penalty. So it's a myth that state workers in Illinois are overpaid, and to lay the blame for the state's budget woes and underfunded pensions on state workers is just plain false."

Rauner has, however, hired a $100,000 a year chief of staff for his wife, who makes virtually no public appearances and has no official duties. He also pays his top staff 36% more than the previous governor did.

If we raise taxes on rich people, all the businesses will leave.

Again, because Bruce and his friends aren't rich enough yet. Here's why that's nonsense: Minnesota raised taxes on it's wealthiest citizens, and the state went from a $6.2 billion budget deficit in 2011 to a billion dollar surplus last year. Its unemployment rate is only 3.6%. The opponents of the Minnesota tax hike on the rich made all the same dire predictions Rauner is making now. Don't fall for it. You know where businesses really don't want to locate? States with devastated educational systems.


This is not the American Dream.

To become so powerful you can force universities to shut down? To force people to work for miserable pay so that millionaires won't have to be taxed?

This is not an impasse. It's an assault.

The man who made $60,000,000 last year is telling people who make, literally, one thousand times less money, that they’re being greedy. That’s disgusting. So that, heaven forbid, millionaires won’t be asked to pay more in taxes. The man who made $60,000,000 last year wants us to fight among ourselves over the amount of money he makes in less than an hour. Divide and conquer. Don't fall for it.

This problem is fixable.

But it's gonna take a long-term plan. 20 or 30 years. That's how long it took to make this mess, courtesy of both Democrats and Republicans. So put in a graduated income tax. Cut waste where you see it. Putting a responsible plan in place will do a lot more to attract businesses than cutting services to rape victims, abandoning the sick and elderly, and gutting higher education.

  • What you can do:

    Call your state representatives. Just enter your zip code, and find your reps here.

    If your rep is a Republican, tell them that every parent who wants to send their kids to a university in Illinois is going to blame Bruce, and his Republican supporters, when those schools shut down. And they will be livid. If your rep is a Democrat, tell them to grow a pair, and raise taxes on rich people. Tell 'em that this is not "an impasse", it's an assault. Tell 'em that as much as Rauner would love for unions to go away, they're the only thing keeping salaries at anything like a decent wage. Tell 'em that shutting down schools is not going to attract businesses. Tell 'em that Minnesota is doing great, because they came up with a much fairer tax plan.


    Download the flier here.