While everyone believes Illinois can and should do better, Governor Bruce Rauner is learning that local leaders aren’t willing to throw their own community’s citizens under his bus to further the governor’s vendetta against the middle class and unions.

And he could get a similar message from state representatives this week.

Elected local leaders believe the Rauner Turnaround Agenda, with its “empowerment (right to work) zones” is aimed at addressing a non-existent problem (unions are all-powerful) while it ignores the state’s most significant actual problem (insufficient revenue to pay for programs and services our citizens want and need).

It’s safe to assume the governor expected the intimidation tactics he used so successfully in private business would let him get his way in state matters once he became Illinois’ chief executive. He anticipated a series of small government wins votes of support for his agenda would generate support and pave the way for a vote in the General Assembly.

That’s why he:

  • Made sure the income tax expired, ensuring the state would have billions of dollars less to provide services.
  • Proposed cutting state payments to municipalities in order to scare local governments into passing his agenda.
  • Slashed funding for programs that help autistic children, senior citizens and others who rely on their government to scare the most vulnerable into supporting his attack in the middle class.

In essence he was telling the public, “We can’t fund those needed programs until we clamp down on unions,” assuming no one would care that one has nothing to do with the other.

It’s a cynical strategy epitomized by this classic magazine cover.

Natlamp73 (1)

Of course, the National Lampoon was a satirical magazine.

Governor Rauner isn’t joking. But if he’s paying attention, he’s noticed that his agenda is not gaining in popularity.

Speaker Madigan has tired of watching Rauner try to move his agenda one village at a time. To get the governor to focus on reality, the Speaker has scheduled a House vote on the “empowerment zone” concept for Thursday.

Given that the idea has been rejected most places it has been proposed, the fact that it is probably illegal and the introduction of strong evidence that it would damage the state’s economy, this week’s vote could turn out badly for the governor, though it won’t get fewer yes votes than the Rauner budget.

That would be mathematically impossible.

Here’s why “right to work” is wrong for Illinois. 

Keep checking the IEA website, IEA-NEA Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates.


  1. It's important for every person to spread the word to everyone they know that Rauner is speaking in incomplete sentences that significantly hurt the regular man to the benefit of the ultra-wealthy – right to work = really means right to work for less and empowerment zones give the power to the rich. Hurting teachers – represent the highest job segment % in every town across America – hurts the economy of every town affected. The court suggested a less radical, destructive solution – like keeping the tax increase that ended that has left Illinois with an income shortfall. Communicate the truth on behalf of & for the benefit for everyone – the I win, you win for every town. Pensions are like group insurance plans – everyone gets a better deal for less cost in numbers. Unions benefit society – giving people security and stability. Working for a promise that needs to be kept. Lord knows that after being on the books for 15 +yrs. from George Bush, that the Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision need to be repealed as discriminatory against public employees willing to dedicate their lives for the good of their community. When the general public has no idea that our SS benefits are drastically reduced because we are teachers in TRS (that we don't get all of the benefits that we have earned) AND we are not entitled to our spouses SS when he/she dies, as a fine how-do-you-do thank you for our devotion to providing an education to the workers of the future. Public knowledge of this discrimination vs. teachers should be broadcast and publicized on the news, on the radio, in the papers, on-line to get these repealed.

  2. When the Republicans started to change the vernacular on issues like referring to earned benefits as "entitlements" and school privatization as "school reform", it's time for us to use the same tactic and start referring to Governor Rauner's "turnaround agenda" as the "turnback agenda". He'd like us to go back to a time when working class and middle class employees had no protections from the wealthy elite. They have resented the gains made in the last century and want to turn back time to when robber barons ruled and the common people suffered.

  3. Let us take RAUNER to court for harassing the retired teachers year after year for the past 25 years with these treats. Think of all the money we have waisted over the 25 years, let us end it NOW, IN THE YEAR 2015 ONCE AND FOR ALL.

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