Proposed State Cuts to Hit Higher Education Hard

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 Charleston - Illinois' financial struggles are well known according to Mattoon state senator Dale Righter.

"For 12 years, this state's leadership has taken the state on a year by year run of consistently spending more money than the taxpayers could afford," Righter said from the Capitol last week.

In that time, millions of dollars for college funding has been greatly reduced.

"For us, it's been a reduction of over $10M dollars.  $10.7M dollars to be exact," said Eastern Illinois University president Bill Perry.

Like the state's fiscal year 2015, Illinois' next budget will come with a big hole to fill said Righter.

"The projected deficit for the FY16, which begins July 1st, is over $6B dollars," added the Republican senator.

To plug that leak, Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing to cut $400M dollars from the state's higher education budget.

Perry says that would take a huge chunk out of his budget.

"The governor's proposal is to reduce our budget by $13.8M dollars.  From a pure dollar perspective, what it would mean is that 250 people would lose their jobs.  That effects 250 families.  It creates a $30M dollar negative economic impact here in Coles county and the surrounding counties," Perry told WAND News on Friday.

Lawmakers will begin budget discussions when they return the Capitol in two weeks.

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