GENEVA – Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate Thursday criticized Republican challenger Bruce Rauner's plan to roll back state income tax rates during a news conference held Thursday at the Kane County Government Center in Geneva.
"Education will take a major hit," said Paul Vallas, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
Vallas – who has 17 years' experience as a school superintendent – said rolling back the income tax rates would have a $2 billion net impact. That would result in nearly $1 billion in cuts to schools, he said, explaining education accounts for 52 percent of the discretionary portion of the general fund.
All school districts would feel the effects, Vallas said, but the poorer districts would feel it the most. Losses would amount to $19.2 million at Elgin School District U-46, $13.7 million at East Aurora School District and nearly $6.2 million at Community Unit School District 300, according to his information.
He said schools already have cut from their budgets.
"I think school districts are looking at their budgets all the time," he said.
As a result of the cuts, Vallas said, inequality among school districts would become more pronounced, the quality of schools would suffer and property taxes would increase.
Under Quinn's budget plan, Vallas said, an additional $6 billion would be invested in education over the next five years.
Mike Schrimpf, a spokesman for Rauner's campaign, issued a written response that accused Quinn of raising taxes and still cutting education funding by $600 million.
"Misleading the voters has been a hallmark of Quinn's for the last four years, and with that kind of record, it's no surprise the 'Quinnocchio' ticket is now making things up about Bruce," Schrimpf said.
"Bruce will make education a top priority and balance the budget without more tax increases by creating a growth economy and restructuring government."