CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll work to rescue Chicago's Public Schools from the financial collapse they face, but only if Mayor Rahm Emanuel works in Springfield to enact Rauner's Turnaround Agenda.
The governor said he's tried to win over the Chicago Democrats who control the House and Senate in Springfield by offering millions of new state dollars for what he believes is the city's top priority: preventing a shutdown of Chicago's public schools.
FOX 32: Are they going to shut down next month?
“They darn well shouldn't! If the mayor would step up and lead, there's no reason there should have to be layoffs in the Chicago school system,” Rauner said. “I've offered to help the mayor with his teachers' pension, have the state contribute. I've offered to help the city on other elements of its finances, from the state level…So far the mayor has said, "No, I'm not going to support any reforms, any structural changes that you're pushing, Mr. Governor. What I want you to do is hurry up and do a big tax increase and send me a portion of the money."
Mayor Emanuel said he is, in fact, willing to work with Rauner on some of his proposals, including cutting the cost of workers compensation for manufacturers.
Emanuel and other top Democrats reject Rauner proposals that they say would weaken labor unions. But in an interview on this first anniversary of his taking office, Rauner noted he may not need the General Assembly.
The U.S. Supreme could rule by June making it much harder for government unions to collect dues, potentially reducing the political clout of teachers unions and others.
“If the Supreme Court rules that way, it'll change government and school districts all over the nation very substantially. People who work for taxpayers will no longer be forced to pay union dues if they don't want to be in the union. And I think that's a great victory for free speech,” Rauner said.
With little prospect for peace between Michael Madigan and Bruce Rauner, the governor will walk into the House next month to make a bit of history. He'll propose a 2017 state budget, even though no one expects that any time soon we'll have a budget agreement for 2016.