↓ Archives ↓

Category → Uncategorized

Korean War Part II: Why it’s probably going to happen

Korean War Part II: Why it’s probably going to happen

Though a lot of people in my line of work (economic and geopolitical analysis) tend to be accused of “doom mongering,” I have to say personally I am not a big believer in “doom.” At least, not in the way that the accusation insinuates. I don’t believe in apocalypse, Armageddon or the end of the world, nor do I even believe, according to the evidence, that a global nuclear conflict is upon us. In fact, it annoys me that so many people seem desperate to imagine those conclusions whenever a crisis event takes shape.

I think the concept of “apocalypse” is rather lazy — unless we are talking about a fantastical movie scenario, like a meteor the size of Kentucky or Michelle Obama’s Adam’s apple hurtling towards the Earth. Human civilization is more likely to change in the face of crisis rather than end completely.

What I do believe in is massive sea changes in societies and political dynamics. I believe in the fall of nations and empires. I believe in this because I have seen it perpetually through history. What I see constant evidence of is that many of these sea changes are engineered by establishment elitists in government and finance. What I see is evidence of organized psychopathy and an agenda for total centralization of power. When I stumble upon the potential for economic disaster or war, I always ask myself “what is the narrative being sold to the public, what truth is it distracting us from and who really benefits from the calamity.”

The saying “all wars are banker wars” is not an unfair generalization — it is a safe bet.

First, let’s clear up some misconceptions about public attitudes towards the North Korean situation. According to “polls” (I’ll remind readers my ample distrust of polls), a majority of Americans now actually support U.S. troop deployment to North Korea, but only on the condition that North Korea attacks first.

I want you to remember that exception — North Korea must attack first.

Source: Will County News

Coal makes a comeback West Wing Reads August 18, 2017

“Coal Makes a Comeback”

– Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes under President Trump’s leadership, “coal is showing signs of a revival and breathing economic life into West Virginia and other coal states.” Weekly coal production has increased by 14.5 percent nationwide over last year with even bigger bumps in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wyoming, the Journal writes, concluding “apparently coal can be marketable if regulators let it be.”
Click here to read more.


Seth Lipsky at the New York Post writes that the leftist-outrage industry moves fast, with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeting yesterday the city will take a 90-day review of all symbols of hate. Lipsky warns the “monument” wars have a very Orwellian feel about them, and President Trump’s slippery slope argument is completely valid.


In immigration news, University of Maryland Professor Peter Morici writes in the The Washington Times the RAISE Act’s emphasis on skilled immigration would “boost the size and quality of the labor force, accelerate economic growth and ease social tensions.” And at the The Daily Caller, Rep. Mark Meadows praises the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement and border security policies, writing that Congress now has “a partner in the White House who is committed to closing down illegal pathways to our country and restoring the rule of law.”


In regards to North Korea, Fox News syndicated columnist Cal Thomas writes “North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un appears to have blinked and President Trump can claim a foreign policy victory and justification for his strategy,” saying “President Trump deserves credit for standing up for the country and confronting one of the world’s most unpredictable dictators.”


In The Hill, the Heritage Foundation’s Bryan Riley and Riley Walters write that after the President’s action Monday to investigate Chinese intellectual property theft, China should “voluntarily reform its treatment of intellectual property, bringing its practices into conformity with international norm,” given its “long and very well documented rap sheet” of IP theft.

Source: Will County News

ISRA Thursday Bulletin – August 17, 2017

ISRA Thursday Bulletin – August 17, 2017


Executive Directors Message

Congresswomen Kathleen Rice (D-4 NY) believes that the NRA, which would include me and most of you, is a threat to domestic security.  When visiting her website, it is obvious that she is a vehement anti-gunner.  Further research reveals that Rice is a Janet Reno appointee and lapdog of another anti-gunner, Andrew Como.  Rice led an investigation which raided legitimate gun stores, alleging they were selling so-called “assault weapons”.  One of those arrested sued Rice in Federal Court and received a $3,000,000 settlement for compensatory damages and another $2,000,000 in punitive damages.  Rice, of course, paid none of it personally because the tax payers had to pick up the bill.  I might as well say it: Rice and people like her are the real danger to national security and individual freedom.
In self-defense, we often talk about the color codes of awareness which are conditions, white, yellow, orange and red.  For those who may not know what the color codes of awareness are: Condition white means you are totally unaware, condition yellow means you are alert and aware, condition orange means you are alert, suspect something is wrong, and you need to plan your reaction, and condition red means action is imminent and you need to take action now!  Recently, one of our members, who is one of the best people I know at always being in condition yellow, related this story to me.  This member lives in a medium sized apartment complex and noticed a homeless looking guy hanging around the parking lot.  She reported it to the manager, who blew it off.  A day later, she noticed a security light out and reported it to maintenance, and it was promptly repaired.  The next day, the light was out again.  Once again, she reported it and it was fixed.  At the same time, she told the complex manager about it, suggested it was the same guy who was up to no-good and, once again, she was dismissed.  The guy was still around.  Another neighbor found the door open on a vacant apartment that was awaiting remodeling and maintenance found someone had been living there.  She was sure that it was this homeless looking guy and complained again to the building manger.  Nothing happened.  The next day, this guy was stopped while driving his mother’s stolen car.  It turns out he had stabbed his mother and taken her car a week before.  Our member was certainly in condition orange.  It turned out that this guy had an associate who was also living in the vacant apartment but he escaped and they are looking for him.  Being aware and keeping her distance may have saved our member’s life.  The problem is, we all have to deal with people like the manager.  The manager could have called the police and the situation could have been solved.  The manager’s comment was that “nothing like this ever happens around here.”  The manager is, and most likely will always be, in condition white.
We don’t talk about condition black.  Condition black means the fight is on and you are falling back on your training.  If you have had training and have kept up with your practice, you may have to give an interview to the police; if you have no training, don’t worry about the interview.  Most likely, the Crime Scene Technicians and the chalk lines will tell the story.
The Governor has signed SB607, the switchblade knife bill.  It has become Public Act 100-0082, and is now in effect.  This bill simply states that the section of Criminal Code that prohibits the sale, manufacture, possession or carry of a switchblade knife does not apply to a person who possesses a valid FOID card.  This bill does not override Home Rule, which means any of the afore mentioned activities may still be an ordinance violation in some jurisdictions.  One of those is, of course, Chicago.
Thanks for being a member.
Upcoming Events: ISRA Calendar
For more information, visit www.isra.org
 Thursday, August 17, 2017
ISRA Smallbore/Rimfire F-Class Thursday Night League
Saturday, August 19, 2017
ISRA Jr Highpower NRA 80 Round Match
Saturday, August 19 & 20, 2017
Defensive Tradecraft LLC IL CCW
Sunday, August 20, 2017
American Legion Prone Match
ISRA Bullseye Match & Combat Match
Springfield Armory Pistol Match
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
ISRA Tuesday Night Irregular League
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
ISRA Benchrest League
F-Class League
Save The Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Check out ISRA’s website at www.isra.org! Tell us what you think!
Follow the ISRA on Twitter and Facebook.

Give the gift of an ISRA membership.   Not an ISRA Member?  Join Today!

Source: Will County News

Moody’s calls out Illinois for lack of school funding; Rep. Batinick urges quick passage of HB 4085


News From

State Representative Mark Batinick

For Immediate Release                                                                                  Contact: Rep. Batinick

       August 17, 2017                                                                                       (815) 254-0000

Moody’s calls out Illinois for lack of school funding; Rep. Batinick urges quick passage of HB 4085

SPRINGFIELD– Moody’s Investors Service issued a report today on the State of Illinois’ failure to distribute the first payment of FY 2018 general state aid to school districts; estimating that credit ratings of 5-20 school districts will deteriorate within months if the funding delay persists.

State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is calling on the General Assembly to quickly reconvene and pass legislation he filed Wednesday to fund elementary and secondary education at last year’s spending levels to allow all Illinois public schools to open on-time for the new school year and remain open.  Representative Batinick’s legislation,House Bill 4085, currently has five co-sponsors representing school districts throughout suburban and Downstate Illinois.

Senate Bill 1, school funding reform legislation that was partially vetoed by the Governor still pending in the House of Representatives, contains over $571 million in new education spending for Illinois schools. Representative Batinick is urging colleagues to work out how to distribute this new funding on an equitable basis after immediately passing legislation to get and keep schools open in the interim.

“In light of Moody’s report today, it is more imperative than ever that we move quickly to pass what everyone has already agreed to – protect every school district at last year’s funding level,” Rep. Batinick said. “We should fund schools right now while negotiations continue on addressing the inequities in our school funding system. We cannot keep governing from crisis to crisis.”

Moody’s rates Illinois Baa3 (the bottom level of investment grade) with a negative outlook.

# # #

Source: Will County News

Hashtag for a chance to win Tell us why you’re proud to be a member of the Homer 33C family

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628


For Immediate Release:

Aug. 18, 2017


Hashtag for a chance to win

Tell us why you’re proud to be a member of the Homer 33C family


   To celebrate Homer 33C’s tradition of excellence, we’re asking everyone — from students and staff to parents and alumni — to tell us why they’re proud to be a member of the Homer 33C family. Those who participate will be entered to win fun prizes in a monthly raffle.


There are three ways to enter:

  1. Tweet your reasons for being a proud parent, community member, staff member, etc. using the hashtag #33CPride
  2. Look for the colorful “Hashtag for a Chance to Win” promo on the district’s Facebook page and post your comment there
  3. Complete our Google survey here


We’ll share your answers — and announce our winners — through our website, newsletters and social media.


We can’t wait to see how many reasons you come up with for having #33CPride!




Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homer33c?fref=ts&ref=br_tf


Source: Will County News

Homer 33C Junior High students ready for 2017-18 school year




News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove Luther J. Schilling William E. Young William J. Butler
Hadley Middle Homer Jr. High
Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager
| 708-226-7628
For Immediate Release:
Aug. 17, 2017
Homer Junior High students ready for 2017-18 school year
Pick up class schedules, tour building at Orientation
The summer slumber is nearly over for Homer School District 33C
This week, the schools began opening their doors to students and their
families, giving them an opportunity to visit their schools before the start of
the 2017-18 school year.
Aug. 17 was Homer Junior High School’s turn.
Students picked up their class schedules and walked the halls, finding their
classrooms and lockers.
Some brought pictures and mirrors to decorate their lockers while others
kept it simple and just dropped off their school supplies.
The first day of school is Aug. 23.
Like us on Facebook at

Source: Will County News

Bad advice for Alabama Senate voters…

Bad advice for Alabama Senate voters…


Erick Erickson, on his The Resurgent website Monday, told Alabama voters that the best way to send the Washington establishment a message Tuesday is casting a vote for Rep. Mo Brooks because the race’s real conservative, Judge Roy Moore, is already sure to make it to the run off. This is awful advice.

Erickson makes the case that by voting for Brooks, Alabama voters can make sure that Sen. Luther Strange– the establishment-favored incumbent– does’t make it on the runoff ballot. This, the pundit said, will keep Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from raining “down money all over the state of Alabama to destroy Roy Moore” in the runoff.

Erickson wrote:

If Mo Brooks is in the runoff with Moore, McConnell and his lobbyist friends will sit out the race. The McConnell team only wants Luther Strange and they’ll do whatever it takes to get him. Moore is probably not going to be able to withstand the massive air war and ground war against him. McConnell and his thugs are ruthless and will do anything and everything to stop him. Look what they did to Chris McDaniel in Mississippi.

You want to rebuke McConnell and you want to ensure a conservative fighter gets the seat? Vote Mo Brooks tomorrow. Roy Moore is going to be in the runoff, but who gets in the runoff with him will decide whether the GOP establishment gets a strong message or affirmation.

That’s dead wrong. First of all, these little games with voters are what causes the sort of electoral dysfunction so many Americans are tired of seeing. Alabama conservatives have a clear choice in tomorrow’s Senate contest– it’s Roy Moore. Telling people who’d otherwise vote for Moore to vote Brooks gives the increasingly desperate establishment Strange campaign far more credit than it deserves.

Secondly, if you say McConnell and the Washington establishment minions are going to back off just because their boy Strange is out of the race– you’re either woefully misinformed or actively trying to mislead voters.

Strange isn’t the big government favorite because the establishment just loves the guy. Strange is the favorite because he’s already demonstrated his willingness to trade political favors for power– such as his involvement, or conspicuous lack thereof, in the Gov. Robert Bentley fiasco– and promised to continue licking the boots of the establishment’s string masters once elected by the people.

For the establishment, it isn’t about keeping Strange in– it’s about keeping a conservative stalwart like Moore out. And given the choice between dealing with Brooks– whose legislative style they already know from his time in the House– or a conservative like Moore, you can bet they’d take Brooks any day.

But here’s what’s most important to remember. There isn’t much the Washington establishment can do or say, no matter how much they spend, to sour Moore’s devoted voter base. He’s proven himself to Alabama’s most conservative voters time and again over the years. And if this is about sending a strong message to Washington, having Moore whoop both of his challengers Tuesday– anything over 50 percent of the vote would do it– and head to Washington without a runoff would be ideal. Next best is letting Moore battle out with Strange in a runoff, so the Washington establishment sees just how useless its spending is against a principled candidate.

Source: Will County News

Opioid & Suicide Information Session Hosted By Will County Board Members Fricilone & Balich

Opioid Information Session Hosted By Will County Board Members

The public information session will be held at Homer Township Public Library on Aug. 31.

Opioid Information Session Hosted By Will County Board Members

HOMER GLEN, IL — Will County Board members from District 7 will host an informational session on Opium Awareness and Suicide Prevention on Thursday, Aug. 31. Dr. According to a release, Kathleen Burke, Will County’s director of Substance Use Initiatives, will lead the session at Homer Township Public Library, starting at 6:30 p.m. The session is open to the public.

“Opioid abuse is a national crisis affecting people across the country, including here in Will County,” District 7 representative Republican Steve Balich from Homer Glen, said in a release. “Hopefully through discussions like this one people will learn how to spot addiction and learn what to do if they need help.”

According to the release, the Will County Board recently approved the second year of funding from a grant from a five-year grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to fight opioid addiction. Will County hired Burke earlier this year as the director of Substance Use Initiatives to assist with coordinating programs associated with the grant.

“Dr. Burke is extremely knowledgeable and a great resource for the County,” Homer Glen Republican Mike Fricilone, also of District 7, said in a release. “I encourage anyone with questions or concerns about opioid addiction or suicide prevention to come on out. Help us by attending our event. Every life matters.”


Will County Sheriff Will bring out the “Hide in Plain Sight Trailer.

Research shows that parents often overlook everyday items that may indicate that an

adolescent is engaging in some form of risky behavior.  The “Hidden in Plain Sight”

trailer will recreate a teen’s bedroom to educate anyone over the age of 21 who has

influence over a teenager:  parents, coaches, leaders, and more in identifying signs of

alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, self-mutilation, violence, sex and other  dangerous behavior.


Image via Shutterstock. 

Source: Will County News

Dinesh D’Souza “The Fascist Roots of the American Left”

The Fascist Roots of the American Left

Protesters gather at the University of California, Berkeley to shut down a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos. (Photo: Paul Kuroda/Zuma Press/Newscom)

In 1925 the Jewish philosopher Theodor Lessing spoke out against the repressive political climate of Weimar Germany.

Although Lessing’s explicit target was the cravenness of the Weimar regime of Paul von Hindenburg, his real target was the emerging power of Nazism, and he blamed the government for yielding to it.

The Nazis recognized immediately the threat posed by Lessing. Adolf Hitler youth at Lessing’s University of Hanover formed a “committee against Lessing.” They encouraged students to boycott his lectures.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

Nazi youth then showed up and disrupted Lessing’s classes. Lessing was forced to give up his academic chair the following year.

In his account of what happened, Lessing later wrote that he could do nothing to prevent being “shouted down, threatened and denigrated” by student activists.

He was helpless, he said, “against the murderous bellowing of youngsters who accept no individual responsibilities but pose as spokesman for a group or an impersonal ideal, always talking in the royal ‘we’ while hurling personal insults … and claiming that everything is happening in the name of what’s true, good and beautiful.”

This was fascism, German style, in the 1920s.

In March 2017, the eminent political scientist Charles Murray showed up to give a lecture on class divisions in American society at a progressive bastion, Middlebury College in Vermont.

Hundreds of protesters who deemed themselves “anti-fascists” gathered outside McCullough Student Center where Murray was scheduled to speak and engage in dialog with Middlebury political scientist Allison Stanger.

Murray is a libertarian who leans Republican, although he’s no fan of President Donald Trump. Unlike Lessing, who taught at the university where he was harassed, Murray doesn’t teach at Middlebury, which is virtually devoid of conservative faculty.

(Stanger is a moderate Democrat affiliated with the New America Foundation.)

In any event, the discussion promised to be a scholarly and illuminating one, giving students a perspective that they never get. But the Middlebury protesters were having none of it.

The activists confronted Murray and Stanger, and at one point they struck Stanger. Inside Wilson Hall, protesters turned their backs to Murray and began to boo and shout epithets like “racist” and “Nazi.”

Murray found he simply could not be heard. College officials escorted Murray and Stanger to another location where their conversation had, for safety reasons, to be shown on closed-circuit television.

After the event, according to Middlebury spokesman Bill Burger, Murray and Stanger were “physically and violently confronted by a group of protesters.” The protesters were masked in the standard Antifa style.

Murray and Stanger ducked into an administrator’s car, but the protesters attacked the car, pounding on it rocking it, and seeking to prevent it from leaving.

“At one point,” Burger said, “a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. Public safety officers were able, finally, to clear the way to allow the vehicle to leave campus.”

According to Burger, “During the confrontation outside McCullough, one of the demonstrators pulled Stanger’s hair and twisted her neck. She was attended to at Porter Hospital later and is wearing a neck brace.”

Murray praised campus security officers for the protection they provided but described what he experienced as “scary, violent mob action.”

This is so-called progressive anti-fascism, American style, circa 2017.

Why does this purported anti-fascism on the part of progressives so closely resemble the fascism that it claims to be opposing? More profoundly, what is “anti-fascism” as the term is now used on the American left?

To answer these questions, we turn to the founders of the so-called anti-fascist movement on the progressive left, the sociologist Herbert Marcuse of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Much has been written about the Frankfurt School and its leading intellectuals, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and most of all Marcuse.

These mostly-lionized accounts stress that the Frankfurt group was made up of refugees from Nazi Germany, Jews fleeing the prospect of Holocaust. Consequently, the credibility of these men in formulating an anti-fascist doctrine has gone largely unquestioned.

In reality, the Frankfurt School’s relationship to Nazism is much more complicated. Marcuse, for instance, was a student and devotee of the philosopher Martin Heidegger, and Heidegger was a lifelong anti-Semite and member of the Nazi Party who championed Hitler’s rise to power.

Heidegger viewed his entire philosophy as laying the foundation for the “blood and soil” doctrines of Nazism. Even after the war, Heidegger refused to condemn Nazi atrocities.

Marcuse did break with Heidegger and flee Germany, but the break was entirely over the issue of anti-Semitism and the personal danger that Hitler’s policies posed for Jews in general and Marcuse in particular.

Marcuse never repudiated Heidegger’s philosophy, and a good deal of his own early work has been described as attempting a reconciliation between Heidegger’s thought and that of Marx. Heidegger viewed Marx as the pioneer leftist of the 19th century and Heidegger as the pioneer leftist of the 20th century.

Herbert Marcuse emigrated to the United States in 1934, having been a prominent member of the Frankfurt School. (Photo: picture-alliance/dpa/Newscom)

Arriving in America, Marcuse taught at Columbia and Brandeis and also worked in Washington, D.C., for the Office of War Information and the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner to the CIA.

There Marcuse helped formulate anti-fascist educational strategies to combat Nazism and later to shape anti-fascist education in postwar Germany. Subsequently, Marcuse moved west to the University of California in San Diego where, during the 1960s, he became a guru of the New Left.

Here I want to focus on the idea that Marcuse is probably best remembered for, one that could not be more pertinent today.

This idea was unveiled in a famous essay he wrote called “Repressive Tolerance.” This essay was published along with several others in a book published in 1970 called “A Critique of Pure Tolerance.”

Let’s follow the argument of the essay because it provides the basis for the vicious intolerance that the left currently unleashes against all forms of dissent in our culture.

The bullying and terrorizing of conservatives on campus, the shaming of Republicans in the media, the defilement of the American flag, the disruption of Trump rallies—all of this behavior receives its moral justification in Marcuse’s famous—or infamous—essay.


Marcuse begins by admitting that all other things being equal, classical liberal virtues like tolerance and free speech are desirable. But, he says, given the class structure of society in which ruling groups have most of the power, and disenfranchised groups have very little, “the conditions of tolerance are loaded.”

To extend tolerance to intolerant groups, Marcuse argues, “actually protects the already established machinery of discrimination.”

Therefore, Marcuse argues that a general principle of liberal tolerance—tolerance toward all viewpoints—should be abandoned.

“Tolerance cannot be indiscriminate and equal with respect to the contents of the expression, neither in word nor in deed; it cannot protect false words and wrong deeds which demonstrate that they contradict and counteract the possibilities of liberation.”

In society, Marcuse insisted, “Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed, certain behavior cannot be permitted without making tolerance an instrument for the continuation of servitude.”

Marcuse was nothing if not blunt about what he advocated: “the systematic withdrawal of tolerance toward regressive and repressive opinions.”

Herbert Marcuse advocated intolerance toward opinions he considered “regressive and repressive.” (Photo: akg-images/Brigitte Hellgoth/Newscom)

What specifically did Marcuse seek to repress?

He cited “the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, Social Security, medical care, etc.”

Moreover, Marcuse added, his approach “may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teaching,” including the suppression of certain types of “scientific research.”

Marcuse bluntly calls for “intolerance against movements from the right, and toleration of movements from the left.” He admits his goal is one of “shifting the balance between left and right by restraining the liberty of the right,” and in this way “strengthening the oppressed against the oppressors.”

Marcuse’s argument has been summed up in the phrase: No toleration of the intolerant. In the 1960s, Marcuse acolytes used a similar chant, “No free speech for fascists.”

At first glance, “no free speech for fascists” sounds like an unobjectionable idea. But upon reflection, it becomes problematic.

Don’t all citizens under the Constitution have equal rights, and if so don’t they have the same rights to free speech, free assembly, and so on? If so, then fascists have those rights too. So on what basis can fascists in America be denied rights?

Since Marcuse intends this, he obviously does not believe in equal rights for all citizens, and neither, apparently, do his modern-day followers.

Moreover, not once does Marcuse demonstrate that the groups he intends to repress are in fact fascist. Marcuse’s targets are not Nazis but rather patriots, Republicans, conservatives, and Christians.

The real meaning of Marcuse’s essay is: No free speech for patriots and conservatives. No toleration for capitalists and Christians.

Of course, the fascists and Nazis themselves sought to undermine the institutions of liberal democracy, such as free speech and tolerance, in precisely the way Marcuse recommends.

To fight fascism with intolerance is one thing. But to fight classical liberalism and modern American conservatism with intolerance is, well, fascist.

This excerpt was taken with permission from Dinesh D’Souza’s new book “The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left” (Regnery Publishing, 2017).

Source: Will County News

Senate overrides Gov. Rauner’s veto of school funding reform legislation; House up next

Senate overrides Gov. Rauner’s veto of school funding reform legislation; House up next

  • By Dan McCaleb and Greg Bishop | Illinois News Network
  • Aug 13, 2017 Updated Aug 13, 2017
  •  (1)


Despite numbers showing Gov. Bruce Rauner’s changes to Democrats’ school funding reform bill give more money to nearly all Illinois school districts, the state Senate Sunday voted to override the governor’s amendatory veto of the measure.

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, chief sponsor of Senate Bill 1, filed the motion to override even though he said he didn’t fully review an Illinois State Board of Education analysis of Rauner’s changes before calling for the override vote.

Rauner’s office released ISBE’s independent scoring of his amendatory veto Saturday. The review shows nearly 98 percent of Illinois school districts would receive more state funding under the governor’s changes than they would under Democrats’ plan in SB1. Districts that receive less funding under Rauner’s plan would still get more state money than they did last year.

Manar’s override motion was approved 38-19 on a mostly party line vote. State Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, was the only Republican to support the override effort. All Democrats voted to override.

In defending the veto override, Manar said Rauner overstepped his authority by making drastic changes to Democrats’ legislation and that lawmakers don’t know what the impact will be years down the road

“He overstepped,” Manar said. “He rewrote the entire bill. It was not a roadmap to compromise.”

But Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said Manar had to come up with some excuse after ISBE’s analysis proved most state school districts benefited from Rauner’s changes.

“If I were the sponsor, I wouldn’t want to look at the numbers that ISBE came out with just now either,” Righter said. “That’s embarrassing. So I’d want to say, ‘That’s going to be a problem three to five to ten years from now.’ I would do that as well.”

The measure now goes to the Illinois House, where Speaker Michael Madigan needs at least four GOP representatives to split with the governor to successfully override. If some Democrats in school districts that see significantly more funding under Rauner’s changes break with Madigan, the speaker will need that many more Republicans to vote for the override.

The House is scheduled to take action on Wednesday.

While the school funding measure and Rauner’s changes to it are complex, two major issues separate the competing sides. The first is over a bailout of Chicago Public Schools pensions.

On the day the General Assembly was scheduled to vote on SB1, many Republicans were prepared to support the evidenced-based model along with Democrats. But then Madigan added an amendment that increased funding to CPS by about $215 million annually to help pay for its failing pension system. Republicans withdrew their support, arguing that suburban and downstate taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay to fix a crisis they had nothing to do with. Rauner’s amendatory veto would remove the additional funding for CPS.

The second issue is over how the state calculates a district’s overall wealth. While no school districts gets fewer dollars than previously, when the state budgets additional money to schools, the evidence-based model uses a complex formula to distribute those dollars based on a district’s needs. Poorer districts, essentially, receive more of the new money than wealthier ones.

But many municipalities across Illinois, especially Chicago, use what are called tax increment finance districts to hoard – and hide – cash in the name of economic development. TIFs freeze taxable property values at a certain level for up to 23 years. Any tax revenue generated above the frozen level does not go to fund intended government services such as schools, which lose out.

Essentially, taxpayers from school districts with no or very few TIF districts will end up financially supporting districts with more TIF districts under the Democrats’ plan. Under Rauner’s plan, that dynamic does not occur.

The Democrats’ plan does not include TIF revenue to calculate a district’s overall wealth. Rauner’s does.

“Should taxpayers in other communities subsidize the choice of a community that says, ‘We’re going to take some of our property tax value and property tax wealther away from funding our schools,’” Rauner said at a news conference Sunday shortly before the Senate’s veto override vote. “And because we’re making that choice, we’re going to expect the state to make up for that and subsidize that decision. That’s not fair. That’s not fair to the taxpayers in other communities.”


Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorne Woods, said Democrats sabotaged negotiations on the bill to bail out Chicago’s failing school system.

“As one of the negotiators, I came to the table fully prepared to come to an agreement on how we can better fund our schools,” McConchie said. “However, good faith discussions never happened. In fact, the bill’s sponsor [Manar] admitted in the press that he was never really negotiating with us. Instead, the Democrats have decided to pursue a path of bailing out Chicago at any cost. It is now up to the House to reject this partisan, regionalistic politics.”

Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said SB1 – before Rauner’s veto – unfairly forces suburban and downstate taxpayers to bail out CPS.

“We want every child in this state to be adequately and fairly funded,” Brady said. “Senate Bill 1 doesn’t do that. It gives an advantage to the Chicago students at the cost of students throughout the rest of the state.”

But Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, said Rauner and other Republicans were playing downstate schools against Chicago’s.

“Regionalism chokes us … at a time we know and we all agree the system we have now doesn’t work and hasn’t worked for decades,” Hutchinson said. “This is one state.”

In addition to 97.5 percent of Illinois school districts benefitting from Rauner’s plan, forty-four districts would receive more than $1 million more under it. The 2.5 percent of school districts that receive less money under Rauner’s plan still receive more than they did last year, ISBE’s review found. N

According to ISBE’s analysis, Chicago Public Schools would receive about $463 million less under Rauner’s plan than the Democrats’, but the governor’s office said that number does not account for $221 million in pension payments the state would pick up in separate legislation. CPS still would get $47.4 million more in state funding this year under Rauner’s plan than it did last year.

Complicating matters is a so-called “poison pill” that Madigan added to a separate budget bill that says no state funding will be released to any Illinois schools without an evidence-based funding formula in place such as the one contained in SB1. The first payments to schools were scheduled to be made last Thursday. They were not sent because of Madigan’s amendment to the budget bill.

Many Illinois school districts open this week. While all Illinois schools are expected to open on time regardless what happens with SB1, some will not be able to stay open for long without receiving this school year’s funding.

Source: Will County News