SPRINGFIELD – Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly pushed through legislation Jan. 28 purported to fund community colleges and MAP grants for students, but did so without providing any revenue or means to pay for it.
State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) described the bill as more empty promises for higher education.
“They could have tied in spending reductions or attached a revenue plan to it, but instead they simply made another unfunded political promise that the state can’t actually pay,” Sen. Syverson said. “Our colleges and universities need stability and proper funding, not more empty promises.”
Senate Bill 2043 would spend $721 million to fund community colleges and MAP grants. According to the Comptroller however, this week the state only has around $69 million in its General Revenue Fund (GRF), and over $7 billion in unpaid bills.
“This whole thing is akin to simply telling our colleges that ‘the check is in the mail, knowing full well however that it isn’t” said Sen. Syverson.
Just 24 hours earlier, Gov. Bruce Rauner had noted the need for a real budget to fund education from Pre-K through college. Additionally, the Governor pushed for reforms that would actually free up resources and allow colleges and universities to spend more money on their core mission of educating students.
“It only took a day for Democrats to turn their backs on the type of reforms and compromises the Governor proposed to actually improve education spending,” said Sen. Syverson. “But a real solution will require good-faith negotiations that include spending reforms, job climates reforms, and yes, new revenues.”