The Illinois House approved two additional spending measures. One would help pay down the state's backlog of bills, thanks in part to a recent uptick in state tax collections. The other would re-authorize existing building programs, spend 10 million dollars to renovate Chicago's Uptown Theatre, and drop 50 million dollars in the pension fund for Chicago teachers. Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, a Democrat from Chicago, says that's proportionally far less than the state pays for teachers' pensions elsewhere in Illinois:
"This is not specially good treatment for Chicago. In fact, it continues to treat Chicago teacher pensions as the basic responsibility of Chicago property taxpayers. While all of us foot the bill for the Downstate teachers' retirement dollars."
The legislation would also fund long-overdue pay raises for some unionized state employees, namely those at the departments of Public Health, Human Services, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Natural Resources.
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