Friday, July 7, 2017

CTU Leadership's Pathetic Response to Rauner and Illinois Budget.

CTU response to IL House override of Rauner budget veto

by Stacy Davis Gates - CTU Legislative and Political Director  |  07/07/2017

The budget that was finally passed today with bi-partisan support can -- at best -- be described as Rauner's austerity budget. Even after all of the pain that everyday Illinois residents have suffered over the last two years of cutbacks, and all of the hard work that legislators put into this deal, Rauner’s austerity budget still doesn’t include the revenue that our state’s people need. On top of that, unless Rauner signs SB1, the new school funding formula, every school district in Illinois will receive NO STATE FUNDING for the upcoming school year -- making it critical that he sign SB1 immediately.

We have the governor to thank for the mess our state is in. Rauner drew a ridiculous line in the sand on the campaign trail, driving our state even deeper in debt than before he took office -- while the terms of this final budget are decidedly right-of-center.

While this budget closes some corporate loopholes, eases an income tax hike for low-income families by increasing the state earned income tax credit, and raises taxes on corporations who can well afford to pay more of their fair share, it still falls short of adequately funding frontline human needs like education. Millionaires and billionaires like Rauner must pay their fair share of taxes -- and that means paying more. Today’s budget doesn't close the unfair loophole that lets Wall Street money managers like Rauner’s billionaire hedge fund donor Ken Griffin dodge paying their fair share of taxes, leaving anywhere from a half billion to almost $2 billion dollars on the table. The LaSalle Street Tax alone would be enough to pay the state’s backlog of bills from the last two years!

It is unacceptable for Mayor Emanuel to use Rauner's austerity budget as a political shield to justify playing the same role as the governor -- or, for that matter, “emergency managers” in Flint and Detroit who’ve robbed public services of precious public dollars. Even when SB1 becomes law, it won’t be enough to sustain Chicago’s public schools. It’s time for Mayor Emanuel to work with the City Council to kick in more support to our school communities by reinstating the Corporate Head Tax and putting the dollars stashed in Emanuel’s TIF slush fund back into frontline public education where those dollars belong. Draining the TIF surplus that has robbed our neighborhood public schools for years and reinstating the Corporate Head Tax will help to ameliorate the cuts that Emanuel has already inflicted on our school communities AND will prevent Emanuel from cutting even more from our school communities for this upcoming school year.


Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired.

This is what the Chicago Teachers Union leadership has to say in response to the state budget that has just been passed. The Illinois House of Representatives passed the budget overriding the veto of billionaire Republican governor Bruce Rauner.

The new budget has a $5 billion tax increase proposal and also includes a provision that allows the the state to borrow more money. State income tax will increase to 4.95% from 3.75% and the corporate rate will increase to 7% from 5.25%. "Today was another step in Illinois' never-ending tragic trail of tax hikes" Rauner commented.  Rauner  has championed property tax relief but lets not forget working folk,  Rauner's father was a CEO of Morotola and he graduated from Dartmouth. He was reported to have earned $180 million in 2015, it's not our taxes he's worried about. 

Some $500 is expected to be raised through pension changes as a defined contribution, 401K market type plan is being introduced to compete with the defined benefits plan as these are gradually being eliminated by employers in the war against all we have won over the past half century or more. Illinois was entering its third fiscal year without a budget and has the honor of being the first US state to go without a budget for more than a year since the great depression.

Naturally, the Democrats are patting themselves on the back as the challenge was led by  House Speaker Michael Madigan.  But the response from the leadership of the CTU is the usual pathetic whining and appeal for other rich folks like the former Israeli Defense Force member and Obama pal, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to do the right thing. The union leadership as they always do, try to shift the entire blame for the assault on living standards on to the Republicans when their deathly embrace of the Democrats has been equally as disastrous for working people for decades. "Millionaires and billionaires like Rauner must pay their fair share of the taxes" the CTU's legislative and political director writes above and it is to Emanuel their appeal goes, the same Rahm  Emanuel who has savaged Chicago's public education system and is after more.

And worse than all of them are the leaders of organized labor in Chicago  which includes the heads of the CTU. The Chicago Federation of Labor has over 300 union locals affiliated to it and some half million members. The CTU is affiliated to American Federation of Teachers, itself an AFL-CIO affiliate, it has 30,000 members. This is tremendous potential power that should be used to draw in the numerous struggles against the capitalist offensive which are occurring in Chicago and the state The poverty racism in the police force and violence is well known in this third largest city in the US. Housing, health care, jobs, the issues are all out there and not complicated. The labor officialdom's efforts are mostly spent ensuring no resistance to their collaboration arises.

They have have also cooperated willingly in the continued assault on education and workers in general. We are in a war on two fronts, one against the bosses and the capitalist offensive, and another against the cooperation of the leaders of our own organizations that support this offensive, albeit a slightly milder version.

It's the same old story from the union officialdom. Back in 2015 when Emanuel was savaging the school system in Chicago, Karen Louis, the CTU president stated at a press conference:“We understand that there is a serious financial problem and we are willing to work within that framework. We accept that there will be a 0 percent raise. But give us something to make that 0 percent feel better.”  

Jesse Sharkey the CTU VP and an open socialist and member of a socialist organization spoke in similar terms during the 2015 struggle saying on WGN radio,“When we say ‘broke on purpose,’ both parts are important, including the recognition that CPS is broke. We don’t think it’s a good time to be asking for big raises or really expensive reforms.” Read more on this issue here.

This is the norm atop the labor movement. They do not believe we can win, they do not see the working class as the class that can govern society let alone lead a resistance movement, after all, where could they lead it to but to chaos?  And they accept the employers' view of the world, they worship capitalism and see the market as having the answer to all things.

Rank and file union members have to recognize that you can't avoid a struggle with the present clique atop organized labor, it is inevitable, as is the struggle against capital. You can't look to much help from most lefts, socialists or other self professed revolutionaries as they tend to avoid these struggles themselves for one illegitimate reason or another. 

It's up to you folks, the boss won't let up.

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