Get real, ISBE.
Last year’s $5 billion tax increase wasn’t close to enough, says ISBE, the Illinois State Board of Education. Schools need another $7.2 billion per year starting this July, they say. See the detailed article on that today by my partner, Ted Dabrowski, who asked what planet they are on.
ISBE on Wednesday unanimously called for that increase in its budget request, seeking nearly twice as much funding as the state now provides, taking the total to about $15.7 billion.
That would be 43% of the budget! (Total revenue in the new budget will be about $36.2 billion.) But wait, there’s more. ISBE’s budget doesn’t include taxpayer pension contributions. That’s another $4 billion just for the teachers’ pension for next year. The bottom line: ISBE is saying 54% of state revenue should go to education.
If the additional $7.2 billion isn’t cut from other services (and it surely couldn’t be), where, pray tell, might the new money come from?
Not a word on that from ISBE, but you can hear the answer now from many — a progressive income tax. Well, for starters, the needed constitutional amendment for that couldn’t even be on the ballot until 2020 at the earliest. Revenue from it wouldn’t show up for a couple years after that. Most importantly, it wouldn’t raise close to the $7.2 billion needed, which is why all its champions never provide any numbers (and reporters, shamefully, never demand those numbers).
Illinois needs reality training. Instead, we get quack, impossible budget proposals like ISBE’s that only deepen the public’s ignorance and create impossible expectations.
It’s going just as we predicted when the school funding bill was passed. Schools will forever be claiming “inadequacy” under the “evidenced-based” funding formula educrats cooked up that ISBE is using. Get used to it.
It’s not gonna happen, ISBE, so get to work on school district consolidation and other ways to save money.
-Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.