News Local/State

Rauner Defends SB1 Changes Affecting School Districts With TIF Districts Or Tax Caps

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Wednesday, speaking at the University of Illinois at Urbana. State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) is in the background

Governor Bruce Rauner is defending his changes to a school funding bill that would mean less state money for some school districts.

The governor says his amendatory veto of the bill (SB1) addresses instances where communities are too “aggressive” in their use of TIF Districts and tax caps. Such measures limit how much property taxes have to be paid --- especially on commercial properties. And up to now, such limits have meant the state would compensate affected school districts with more state tax revenue.  But Rauner says that’s unfair.

“This has been going on in Illinois for decades”, said Rauner. “It’s one of the reasons we have high taxes. And some communities have benefited at the expense of others. We need an equitable system and that’s what we’re advocating with our AV.”

Although not mentioned by Rauner at the time, his amendatory veto also includes a “hold harmless” provision until the 2020-2021 school year, followed by a hold-harmless provision on a per-pupil basis, based on a three-year rolling average of enrollment. Supporters of the governor’s amendatory veto, such as the Illinois Policy Institute, say that means that districts that rely on state subsidies tied to PTELL and TIF districts would not see any immediate loss of state funds.

Rauner’s comments came in answer to a reporter’s question during a visit to the University of Illinois in Urbana Wednesday, where he signed procurement reform legislation. 

Illinois lawmakers plan to meet next week to deal with the governor’s amendatory veto of education funding --- with the Senate convening this Sunday, and the House meeting on Wednesday.