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The [Wednesday] Papers

"A month ago, only education policy nerds were talking about establishing a private school tax credit scholarship program in Illinois," Eric Zorn writes for the Tribune.

Now, after a flurry of negotiations in Springfield, we're going to have one of the biggest such programs in the country.

Without committee hearings and expert testimony. With almost no public debate and precious little debate in the General Assembly, Illinois is about to join the ranks of states that funnel significant amounts of public money into K-12 private schools, many of them religious.

Welcome to the Combine, Governor Rauner. Your table was waiting all along.


"The 'Invest in Kids Act,' as Republicans called their amendment to the school funding overhaul in Springfield, was a last-minute bargaining chip, a concession the GOP demanded from the Democratic legislative majorities in order to put votes behind an omnibus bill that gave Democrats quite a bit of what they wanted."

That's being a bit kind to Democrats. I've yet to see any reporting showing that Democratic leaders chose this path over letting the whole school funding bill die - in which case an override of the governor's veto of the original bill that passed both chambers of the Assembly might have gained enough votes to pass. True, that's a game of chicken Dems may not have wanted to play, but then so is this - and they blinked. Perhaps eagerly.

"Democrats' stated reasons for signing on to the deal vary," Ben Joravsky writes for the Reader. "In the case of Madigan and Cullerton, it's obviously a gift to Archbishop Blase Cupich, head of the Archdiocese of Chicago."

And the mayor? To a man with no core principles, expediency as the path of least resistance is always the way to go.

"As a part of the agreement, the Chicago Public Schools gets the hundreds of millions of dollars it needs to pay its most immediate teacher pension obligations," Joravsky notes. "The state deal also lifts the cap on property taxes, which means that Rahm will be able to raise the tax rate to fetch more money for the schools."

The bill could have had $750 million in tax credits for private schools - and, say, a lollipop for every resident of the state - for all Rahm cared. He just wanted his damn money - now.

"The scholarship subsidy contradicts pretty much everything the Democrats supposedly believe in when it comes to education finances."

Democrats have a way of supposedly believing in a lot of things. That's their public-facing brand. Their reality, particularly in Illinois, has always been a different story, and this is just the latest example.

"When the deal passed the house, Madigan hailed it as a great 'compromise.' But to some of us, it smells like betrayal."

It's only a betrayal to those who foolishly still believe Democratic rhetoric. This is exactly who they are.

And we've been reminded once again who Michael Madigan is - which has been easy to forget during Rauner's tenure when Madigan has been the monster on the wall keeping us safe at night. He's still a monster, and it would be nice to be rid of him and the governor.


"The agreement and 38-13 Senate vote Tuesday came after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations among the four Democrat and Republican legislative leaders after Rauner used his amendatory veto powers to rewrite an earlier proposal," the Tribune reports.

"Rauner contended that version set aside too much money for CPS, often calling it a 'bailout.' However, the bill he now plans to enact could result in the Chicago district receiving as much as $450 million in new money - about $150 million more than in the original bill. It also contains little to reflect the changes Rauner proposed in his veto."

And yet, Rauner is claiming a win. After all, the state now has a voucher program.


"Republicans countered that they were able to get items they've long sought and wouldn't have secured without the governor's veto.

"That includes $75 million in tax credits to help pay for tuition to private schools. In addition, school districts would face fewer requirements on daily physical education classes, and voters in well-funded districts could petition to lower their property taxes."

GOP finally brings gym class reform to Illlinois!


"Previously, an Illinois Appellate Court in 2001 upheld a state income tax credit of up to $500 for parents for paying 'qualified educational expenses' that exceed $250 for the education of children in K-12 private schools.

"The credit was challenged based on the state constitution prohibiting government money for religious purposes, including a ban on spending to 'aid' or 'to help support or sustain any school' that is 'controlled by any church or sectarian denomination.'

"In its 2001 ruling, the Appellate Court noted that a tax credit 'does not constitute public funds' received by the government. Instead, 'it merely allows people to keep more of their own money.'"

Would it help, dear Court, if we made everyone who qualified for the tax credit send "their" money into the state and then the state issued a refund? Because that's the same thing. Does it really have to touch a state employee's hands to no longer be their money?


Slow & Low
Highlights from this month's lowrider festival in Pilsen.


Salukis Football!
An in-depth look.


Tackle Rings?
Trying to attract kids to football is tough these days.


I Was An Exxon-Funded Climate Scientist
The company knew.



ABC News's Chief National Correspondent Is A Royal Dick Who Should Be Fired.


Mike North Has No Regrets About Being A Racist, Sexist Pig.


Members Of Congress Scoring Personal Loans From Political Contributors.

Swamp things.


3 Reasons Not To Believe These 7 Reasons That Beer Is Good For You.

Hey, I'm not against beer, I'm against shitty reporting.


A sampling.


Who Would Jesus Block?



The Beachwood Tronc Line: Trolly.


Posted on August 30, 2017

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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