How a Property Tax Freeze and Change to School Funding Could Break the Springfield Stalemate

A few weeks back, three Democratic senators talked to reporters in Springfield about a concept that would both freeze property taxes in Illinois for a few years and sunset the state's school funding formula in a few years.

It's a coupling that Illinois Senate President John Cullerton had been promoting earlier and continues to push as the start to some sort of solution to the current stalemate between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic super majorities in the Senate and House.

The ideas haven't attracted all that much attention, but they could be a means of tackling two thorny challenges that touch just about every Illinois resident.

State Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat, was one of the Democrats promoting the idea, along with state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, and state Sen. Andy Manar, a downstate Bunker Hill Democrat. The three of them represent the three regions of the state often at odds with each other.

Rauner made a property tax freeze one of the centerpieces of his campaign, running commercials repeatedly decrying high property taxes in Illinois. Property taxes are, of course, the major funding source for local school districts and Rauner also has vowed to boost school funding. Historically, downstate schools and children have suffered with lower funding because downstate property isn't valued as highly as urban and suburban property. Right now, in Illinois, we have districts spending as little as $6,000 per pupil and some spending more than $28,000 per pupil. And while money isn't the end-all, be-all of a quality education, it is proven that money does matter. A great deal.

You can read the rest of this article at Reboot Illinois.

Also, see what Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan had to say about Rauner and the budget in a recent opinion piece.