The Quinn campaign for governor says Bruce Rauner’s budget would cut $4 billion from education. It’s inevitable if the 2 percentage point income tax increase is rolled back, reducing state revenue by $8 billion, since education funding consumes 52 percent of General Fund revenue, says Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Paul Vallas.
“If you take $8 billion away from the General Fund, education will be facing a cut of about $4 billion once his plan is fully implemented, whether it takes two years or three years,” Vallas said.
The state raised the personal income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent in 2011. The rate will fall to 3.75 percent at the end of this year unless lawmakers act. Gov. Pat Quinn asked lawmakers to extend the tax; they did not this spring. Rauner has proposed gradually reducing the tax rate.
Rauner disputes the assertion that schools will suffer under his plan. He says his cuts will be somewhere else. “I would put education as a top priority. It would be sacrosanct. The cuts can come in other places. Education is not where things should be cut,” he said.
Rauner also says economic growth will provide money for proper education funding. Vallas says that’s ridiculous; even boom-level economic growth would leave Rauner with a $7 billion hole to fill.
Vallas says it’s impossible to make cuts of this size without cutting education, because that’s where the money is.