State Lawmakers to Vote on Higher Education Bill Thursday

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Springfield - Wednesday saw plenty of heated debate between Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate.

Much of the same is to be expected at the Capitol on Thursday as Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) will introduce legislation to appropriate funding for MAP grant recipients, community colleges, and state universities.

The measure would call for spending at the same rate as fiscal year 2015 despite a revenue shortfall due to the sunset of the state's income tax.

On Thursday morning the Governor's Office of Management and Budget, the governor's top budget adviser Tim Nuding, released a statement saying that, "this package of bills is not affordable because the legislature has already allocated all existing resources to other programs. Because of those decisions, there are no resources remaining to fund the programs highlighted today without reducing spending in other areas or identifying additional resources."

"Today, the Comptroller’s Office reports a backlog of bills totaling $7.2 billion, with almost 50,000 unpaid vouchers on hand. Vendors continue to wait months and months to get paid. Voting for this bill adds to the state’s debt, causes those who are already waiting for state payments to wait even longer and potentially jeopardizes payments to the pension systems and general state aid payments for school districts," Nuding added.

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