It was right to urge Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1. It is a promising bill that finally attempts to tackle the issue of funding inequality in our state’s schools. Diverting necessary resources to those districts that are most in need is an excellent plan that will aid struggling communities. But SB1 doesn’t go far enough.
The state of Illinois has the fifth largest economy in our country; our GDP of more than $700 billion rivals the Netherlands. And yet, Illinois ranks dead last in the U.S. in the amount of state funding it contributes to public schools. Ask some school teachers about their experiences and chances are you’ll hear stories about students packed into too-small classrooms, huddling over tattered, outdated books. This is an embarrassment.
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The reason for this sorry state of affairs: Our schools are funded primarily through property taxes. This means that in Illinois, your zip code determines whether you get a shot at the American Dream. This needs to stop.
That’s why we need to change the formula, to fund schools with a progressive income tax such as the one proposed by gubernatorial candidate Ameya Pawar. The wealthy have benefited immensely from Illinois’ workforce and resources, and it is time they paid their fair share.
What kind of future will Illinois have if we continue to neglect our public institutions? Who will move their families here? We must have the will to make sure we invest in everyone, and that’s why we must have the will to enact a progressive income tax.
Raf Miastkowski, Wilmette
Mayor Emanuel caught between a rock and a hard place
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in a tough political corner. He is being criticized for not voluntarily complying with the requirement from the Obama justice department for a federal judge to supervise changes to the conduct of the Chicago Police Department. The Trump administration, which was merciless in blaming Emanuel’s Chicago Police Department for the violence in Chicago, has decided that Chicago and Emanuel do not need federal court supervision for the sensitive job of police reform.
Just when the mayor was relieved from the task of cleaning up a constitutional and political police problem of many decades, he was instead given the green light to include his political judgment where a lifetime appointed federal judge has none.
Emanuel would like nothing more than to move “the buck stops here” sign from the fifth floor of City Hall to the federal courthouse. However, President Trump wants nothing less than for Emanuel to remain part of the problem, and CPD likes it that way.
Sheldon I. Saitlin, Gold Coast