Random thoughts. The phony funding equity debate.


Yesterday, in spite of feeling awful from a Spring cold and cough that keeps hanging on, I took the car over to the dealer for an oil change and other maintenance stuff. It takes about two hours.

I went to a nearby Starbucks to wait.

I had my laptop open, minding my own business. The guy next to me was using the place as his office, papers spread out, on the phone and grumbling about the homeless guy using the Starbucks toilet.

This guy can use Starbucks as his personal office, but the homeless guy can’t use the bathroom?

Against my better judgement I got into a conversation. He’s an accountant and he is a piece of work.

Lush public pensions. No work incentive. People having babies who can’t afford them. Corrupt unions. Blah, blah, blah.

There is just too much to take on, but I try to explain the numbers about pensions. He’s hearing none of it. Finally I say, “Bill, you are a terrible accountant. You refuse to look at the numbers. I would never hire you.” And, so we spend the rest of the time sitting quietly next to each other until the service guy at the dealer calls to say my car is ready.

Which reminds me of the debate going on in Springfield. Don’t ask why it reminds me of it. It just does.

On the one hand, Senator Andy Manar argues for a new funding formula that moves existing dollars around (maybe a few bucks more). The latest version moves money downstate and throws some to Chicago. But without more money (adequacy) it is paid for by taking money targeted for special eduction. Manar claims it is more equitable.

On the other hand, Lou Lang wants us moving to a constitutional amendment that would end the state’s flat income tax and would raise an additional $2 billion. That’s not enough, but as my State Representative Will Guzzardi said in an interview with me this week, it would be a start.

The debate between equity and adequacy is a phony one.

An equitable lack of adequate funding is no equity at all. Rich districts would continue to get all they need while poor districts will continue to suffer.

Democrat Jack Franks from Marengo says he will vote against Lou Lang’s constitutional amendment. That means there are not the 71 votes needed to put the question on the November ballot.

The dope at Starbucks will be happy to hear that.

6 Replies to “Random thoughts. The phony funding equity debate.”

  1. Fred, I am feeling more and more militant these days. It would have been great if you would have before leaving Starbucks you went over to the guy and swept off the table the Jerk’s laptop and papers.

    1. Not likely. Change in raising revenue by constitutional language change to a progressive income tax. But even that does not guarantee the money will go to schools.

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