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updated: 8/27/2014 3:31 PM

Vallas: Rauner budget plan means big schools cuts

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Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Paul Vallas argued Republican Bruce Rauner's plans to let the state's income tax rate drop could lead to a lot of teacher layoffs statewide.

Speaking from the Illinois Education Association union building in Springfield, Vallas released estimates from Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign about how much each school district in Illinois could expect to lose if the income tax rate dropped from 5 percent to 3 percent.

Quinn favors keeping the higher rate. Rauner, his opponent, wants to see it go down over several years.

How suburban schools would fare, according to Vallas, varies depending on how much money the school district gets from the state. More affluent districts depend on state money far less than poorer ones.

Still, Vallas said that if Rauner wants to make a budget with less money coming in, school funding would have to be cut because it's one of the state's biggest costs.

"There's very little you could do to offset the cuts," he said.

Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf said in a statement that higher taxes haven't helped schools.

"The truth is Pat Quinn raised taxes by 67 percent and still gutted education spending by $500 million," he said.

Influential teacher unions in Illinois have backed Quinn over Rauner even though Quinn spent years trying to cut their retirement benefits.

Rauner has proposed freezing local property taxes unless voters approve a hike, an idea likely to be popular in the suburbs, the battleground for November's election.

Vallas says cutting state support to schools means property taxes would only have to climb higher.

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