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CTU Response to Rauner's 2017 State of the State Address

CHICAGO—Before today’s State of the State address, the Three Stooges—President Donald Trump, Governor Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel—took turns distracting us from the embarrassing reality of their leadership. 

Yesterday, President Trump offered to send an occupying force to our neighborhoods in lieu of public investment in the form of affordable housing, school funding and a jobs program. Then, on cue, Mayor Emanuel deflected from his own failures by pointing out the obvious—and prolonged—failures of his mentor, Gov. Rauner, whose unwillingness to govern has caused irreparable harm to families across our state.

Year three of Rauner’s term is marked by the same despair and disappointment of the last two years—a never-ending campaign tale of alternative facts and hollow promises yielding no progress. Bruce Rauner, Springfield “outsider” and among the chief advisors to Emanuel, is now Gov. Rauner, failed “turnaround” schemer who represents the billionaire class, corporate interests and Betsy DeVos-styled education policies. Like Trump, Rauner has misappropriated the pain of working families, and views them as hostages in his efforts to pursue an agenda already being carried out by Chicago’s mayor.

ILLUSTRATION: three-headed monster

Chicago's school children, their families and public school educators—nearly 80 percent of whom are women—need new streams of progressive revenue equitably distributed through a new state funding plan to keep their schools open. Rauner, however, openly plots for Chicago Public Schools bankruptcy.

Chicago State University desperately needs revenue and leadership, and the governor appoints to its board of trustees Paul Vallas, a well-known school killer with a reputation of firing African-American workers, and consolidating and closing public schools.

Low-income college students throughout Illinois need the governor to make the state's Monetary Assistance Program work in order to pay for school through this fall. Rauner refuses.

Working mothers need assistance to pay for child care so they can actually afford to work, and again, Rauner refuses.

The elderly, mentally ill and individuals living with disabilities need adequate care and access to health services. Rauner does nothing.

State workers—a substantial majority of whom are women—who provide critical services that keep our state running want to retain the right to collectively bargain on behalf of themselves and their client. The governor repudiates them at every turn.

Inner city communities need jobs, infrastructure investment and gang intervention to stem the devastating rise in violence. That’s not a priority for the Rauner administration. 

When private corporations ask for $100 million worth of tax breaks, however, Rauner complies. When $31 billion power company Exelon, run by the governor’s close friends and political operatives, ask Illinois to raise energy rates on working people to provide billions in subsidies for its failing nuclear plants, he willingly acquiesces.

When he has the chance to save himself millions of dollars through tax reductions, the governor does so.

Rauner today called for increased and equitable funding for CPS, but vetoed $215 million for pension support, resulting in furloughs and potentially mass layoffs. His budget demands have cost state universities hundreds of millions of dollars. His actions are completely contrary to his words. Illinois cannot have economic growth when jobs vanish due to his negligence. 

Somehow, Chicagoans are supposed to believe that Rauner is standing for Illinois by depositing an unprecedented $50 million of his own money into his campaign account. We are supposed to believe he is a Carhartt-wearing everyman and not a new-styled billionaire political boss who is buying the governor's office. We are supposed to believe that Emanuel and Rauner subscribe to different journals of leadership.

Illinois families deserve the promise of America—investment, opportunity and safety in our neighborhoods. Families deserve a vision that births a jobs program and provides safety instead of military occupation. Families deserve a vision that begets policies that increase progressive revenue and investment in our state, and action that places their needs over the profits and motives of billionaires. 

As a state, we need to address the gross inequities in rural communities and the inner cities, and reject grand bargains that force us to choose between such things as retirement security and fully-funded schools. Make no mistake, the unprecedented violence, massive disinvestment in public neighborhood schools and the lack of employment opportunities that offer fair wages and benefits are attacks on women and children that Rauner, Emanuel and Trump are shepherding together.

Chicago Teachers Union