IL governor vetoes bill to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour

Ashlee Rezin  Chicago Sun-Times

After a dramatic series of votes, the Illinois House approved a new school funding formula late Monday that would give the Chicago Public Schools approximately $450 million more than previous year, officials said.

Representatives voted Friday night 73-34 to pass Senate bill 1947, the replacement to Senate bill 1.

The Illinois Senate voted to override Rauner's changes, with one Republican joining majority Democrats.

Lawmakers are set to convene Tuesday to vote on the measure, which the Illinois House approved late Monday.

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The path to success in IL wasn't easy - Rauner vetoed a previous version of the bill a year ago - but the Democratic-led legislature unanimously approved changes sought by the governor, clearing the way for today's bill signing in Chicago.

"This law reinforces local and state communities to work with the federal government to protect the neighborhood, to protect the people in the state of Illinois", Schmitz said.

Rep. Will Davis, the Homewood Democrat who carried the bill, was proud of the final product.

"The General Assembly came together, worked with us, made the changes that we were recommending, and now I think we have a good, strong piece of legislation that makes it easier for everyone who's eligible to vote to be able to vote", Rauner said Monday. It provides money to help Chicago Public Schools pay its pension costs, as the state does for other districts, and allows Chicago to raise property taxes by $120 million to help reduce its massive unfunded pension liabilities. Although school officials have said they will be able to open classrooms for the new school year, many districts have anxious they would run out of money if the impasse wasn't resolved soon.

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The plan that was debated and passed Monday night was agreed on by state leaders in private meetings.

One of the more contentious results of the negotiations is a possible tuition tax credit pilot program for which officials may earmark up to $75 million for tax credits to parents who send their children to private schools. "The governor's proposal gives the wealthy another break while robbing our public schools of students and dollars". The bill, sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton, potentially could save IL rental dealers millions of dollars in use tax obligations. The money may be donated to a specific school but not a specific student. The bill would have gradually increased it to $15 per hour over the course of five years. Religious leaders, including Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago, have lobbied for the credit. The state budget lawmakers approved last month, ending a more than two-year impasse, required for the first time that the formula be changed.

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery says Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is using students "as leverage for private school tax credits". Rauner said he had used his amendatory veto powers to rewrite the measure previous year to address those concerns. Tracy said she hopes to make more progress next year to change the way IL policies are structured in order to give the state a more competitive edge in attracting and growing business to bring back jobs.

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