MAP Grant Debate Continues at State Capitol

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Springfield - It appears the debate over university and MAP grant funding is far from over in the General Assembly.

However, pressure continues to mount.

Employees from Eastern Illinois University and Chicago State University are pressuring lawmakers.

One of their targets has been Republican Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston).

They have felt that Phillips is sticking to political ties to the governor.

On Monday, Phillips listened to their concerns and offered them some insight from the Capitol.

"If there's a bill that comes to the floor that has funding attached to it, I'll be the first one to run over there and vote for it.  If they bring a goofy bill with no funding attached to it and we're going to continue this Mickey Mouse, then no," he said.

On Wednesday, Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), said funding could come from the state's general revenue fund.

House Republicans called it a sham, saying the state will only bring in $32B dollars of revenue versus a projected $37B dollars in expenses.

As promised, Phillips voted no, and he said it's not because of political ties, but that it's because of the speaker's political games.

"I'm for it, except I'm not for handing you something you can't cash.  What good's a check if there's nothing in your checking account?  Here's the deal.  There was nothing backing that map grant bill.  I think if there would have been, I would have jumped on it in a heartbeat," said Phillips.

Governor Bruce Rauner has indicated he will likely veto the legislation.  This comes three weeks after lawmakers passed bi-partisan legislation to release emergency funding for community colleges, universities, and MAP grants.

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