General Assembly Remains Split on Funding for Higher Education

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Springfield - On their own, lawmakers in the House and Senate have yet to pass a budget.

The courts, on the other hand, have kept about 90% of the state funded through orders and consent decrees which has left the other 10% of funding falling on the General Assembly's shoulders.

Included in that 10% of missing funding is money for higher education.

"It is a complete falsehood to sit here and promise people that this somehow solves the problem.  It doesn't solve anything," said Senator Chapin Rose (R-Champaign).

Just before leaving the Capitol two weeks ago, the House passed legislation to appropriate spending for junior colleges, universities, and MAP grants.

On Thursday the Senate did the same thing.  However, they included about a billion dollars more in spending to fund rape crisis centers, prostate screenings, and other social services.

Like the House's debate, Senate members quarreled over expenses versus revenue.

"Giving the appropriation authority now will enable these programs to get into the que so the comptroller can in fact, will dollars are available, to actually help fund these programs," said Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) argued, "we have $32B in revenue.  We're on pace right now without a budget to be spending that revenue.  This appropriates to spend about another $3B that we don't have, so where is the money going to come from?"

"I thought it was very ironic that you didn't ask Governor Rauner where the $7B for K-12 education was going to come from when he signed that bill," rebutted Senator John Sullivan (D-Quincy).

Despite the Senate's passage of the bill the House won't be able to act on it until they return April 4th.

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