Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Over at Public Affairs: Jeff has some Democrats getting their democrat on.

Note: I have updated the quote a bit. Go to Jeff's site to read the full transcript.

It's times like this I wish I actually had cable instead of a dish so I can watch the show...

" Big questions, big taxes and big solutions? Education--Who benefits and who pays? Is there such a thing as a free lunch?

State Rep. Julie Hamos (18th Dist., D- Evanston) debates and discusses education and education funding with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz on Public Affairs, recorded on April 26, 2004 and airing in the suburbs the week of May 3, 2004 [See, below, May 3 blog entry, for the suburban airing schedule] and airing through-out the City of Chicago on Monday night, May 10 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21. A partial transcript of the show is included, below:

State Rep. Julie Hamos: And, again, we [State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg(D- 9th Dist.) and I] are asking big questions. We are saying-- is it time to talk about universal health care? People are so unhappy with their health care programs. Is it time to talk about universal health care? And, we are also asking the question can we do anything at the state level- I am not sure we can- when we talk about universal health care. So, we are willing- my state senator Jeff Schoenberg and I are willing to raise the big issues of the day, but, really, there are no easy answers. You can't just talk about them in hypotheticals "

Hamos: Oh Jeff, you know what- I think that remedial education is a very nice thing. We ought to pay for it. There is going to be tutoring involved. There is mentoring involved. There is school—

Berkowitz: Who is we? Who is we [as in “We ought to pay for it”]? We are they [and they are us].

Hamos: We, the state of Illinois, which is putting 5% of the Evanston School Budget into the Evanston City [public] schools is not paying for the [federal] Leave No Child Behind Law requirements. This is a very important problem.
For these [Evanston?] schools. And, it is a problem for schools around the State.

Berkowitz: You make it sound like there are four entities involved: There are people and there is a state government, and there is a federal government and then there is a local government. But, those governments are basically [just] people. It is not like the people in Evanston or Winnetka or Wilmette or Glencoe or Kenilworth [or Bannockburn or Hoffman Estates or Palatine or Chicago] can say—we would rather not pay for this—can we go to the federal government? Because the federal government is going to ask them [the taxpayers from those local villages or cities] to pay for it. Or, they say- can we go to the state government? Well, what does that mean? The state is going to come back to those people in your district and raise their [state] taxes. So, when you say, “We ought to pay for it,”-- we are paying for it. It is a matter of in what form. So, you are saying we ought to pay for it in the form of a state tax, as opposed to a local property tax. You have to be precise on this show. ...When you say we ought to pay for it, you mean we ought to pay for it in [the form of] one tax as opposed to another [tax].

Hamos: Jeff, you want to talk about school funding reform. I am saying we don’t have a program yet for school funding reform, but I would be open to hearing about it because I do think the schools need some help and I am very sympathetic to the needs of schools and the children receiving quality education. That is all I am saying. I am not prepared to talk about the specifics.
Berkowitz: …But, my point is, if people [in an affluent village or city] want to do that [pass a referendum to override the tax cap limitations], they can do it and pay for it themselves. Evanston is not a low income city, on average. It has some low-income areas. It is not clear to me that Evanston should say, “Cairo, East St. Louis or some other low income area – why don’t you ship some money up to Evanston? That’s what you are saying when you say the “State” should do more. The state can’t do it. It is someone else in some other low-income area. What is your response to that?

Hamos: I don’t have one.

Berkowitz: You don’t? Okay.

Hamos: You know, I mean we are talking about school funding reform. I think it is time for us to look at that in a serious way. We haven't in ten years. I think we should look at that. The school budgets are in trouble. We know there is a Leave No Child Behind law. We know that we are not paying for special education. We should be looking at all of that. We haven't done that yet. At the appropriate time, I hope we will. I hope that the Governor will be ready to step up to the plate to do that. And, then I think we will consider whatever proposal is out there.

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