Valorie Eversole Daily Union Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — State Senator Chapin Rose agreed with some of the points Governor Pat Quinn made during his State of the State address Wednesday, but Rose also criticized some of the proposals Quinn presented. He offered his opinions in a media phone conference following the address.
“I think the guy’s in fantasy land,” Rose said regarding Quinn’s claim on job growth in the state. “We are 50th in the nation in job growth. He has ignored reality.”
Quinn said that 280,000 private sector jobs were added in the state in the past year.
Rose also noted that raising the minimum wage is not the answer if people cannot get a good paying job with benefits.
“People need real jobs with benefits, not minimum wage jobs. Our minimum wage is already the highest in the region. People need to be trained and educated for quality jobs,” Rose said.
Rose also noted the problem with workers’ compensation claims and fraud and that reform in that area was needed.
Quinn also proposed increasing the number of MAP grant awarded for students attending qualifying schools.
“MAP grants are a real problem out there. The MAP grants discriminate against dislocated workers and single mothers returning to school because of the time frame in which the grants are awarded,” Rose said.
He noted that awards for the new school year starting in the fall are made in the spring. If someone loses his job during the summer months, there are no more awards available to begin school in the fall. Single mothers, generally speaking, will make last minute decisions about education - also too late for MAP grant awards.
“He has some great ideas for education, but we have some serious issued to get remedied before we can decide what to do next. Schools are struggling,” Rose said. He cited the fact that transportation funding to get students to school was cut in last year’s budget.
Rose also called for dialing back funding to Chicago schools which receives more funding than the rest of the state’s schools combined.
Chicago schools have 33 percent of the state’s students below the poverty level, yet they are getting 45 percent of the poverty funding.
“The state is still running over $1 billion in deficit. We need to spend wiser. We need to let the temporary tax increase from three years ago expire and put more money back into the people’s pocket,” Rose said. He also noted that there are resolutions being filed to increase taxes again.
Governor Quinn noted that Wednesday was the fifth anniversary of the ousting of Governor Rod Blagojevich and himself being sworn in as Governor.
“Quinn came into a tough job. Five years later we have paid down bills but we still have a $5 billion backlog of bills. If you’re going to propose spending, you have to have a way to get the money for it,” Rose said.