Emanuel Slams Rauner’s CPS Funding Ideas: “Emperor Wears No Clothes”

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has flatly rejected Gov. Bruce Rauner’s two most recent suggestions for ways to provide the Chicago Public Schools with $215 million in needed teacher pension relief, declaring “the emperor wears no clothes.”

On Monday, the governor’s office released an internal memo outlining two possible ways the state could help address the CPS budget shortfall.

Last year, Rauner vetoed legislation that would have provided $215 million in pension relief for CPS, after Cullerton said the funding wasn’t tied to a larger state worker pension overhaul plan the governor has sought.

One of the ideas Rauner has floated for CPS is allowing the city to use surplus tax-increment-financing dollars to fill the hole. That money is generally used for community development projects.

“It seems to me a reasonable use of that money is to use TIF funds. It’s right there in cash. Nothing has to change, and I believe the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union have recommended the same thing,” he said.

Emanuel scoffed at that idea.

“I think in the last 48 hours, everybody’s come to the conclusion that the emperor wears no clothes; the governor,” he said.

The mayor said he refuses to use TIF dollars the way Rauner suggested.

“Our taxpayers already pay for everybody else’s teachers’ pension. I am not going to recommend a third tax to cover up for the failure of the state of Illinois,” he said.

Emanuel’s criticism came on the heels of a rough weekend for the governor, which saw Rauner and Chance the Rapper at odds after they met to discuss CPS finances on Friday, with Chance calling out the governor for giving “a lot of vague answers.”

Three days later, Chance said he was “frustrated and disappointed in the governor’s inaction” as the rapper donated $1 million to CPS for arts programming.

Senate Democrats also blamed Rauner after an apparent agreement on the so-called “grand bargain” on the state budget – negotiated by Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Senate Leader Christine Radogno – fell apart last week.

The mayor said Rauner has no one to blame for himself for the state’s ongoing budget stalemate, and its effect on social services, higher education, and public school districts.

“There’s nobody else. He can’t blame Mike Madigan. He can’t blame John Cullerton and the ‘Grand Bargain.’ He can’t blame me, can’t blame Chance, and he’s now realized … everybody’s now seen what he stands for,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel noted Rauner has not introduced a single balanced budget plan in three years.

“Governor’s State now is cutting 22 academic programs. Kids, for the first time, from the state of Illinois are leaving the state to go to college when we used to be a net gain. Ounce of Prevention and other social service agencies are suing the state. More people are leaving our state, not just students and others, and this is all under his tenure,” he said.

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