Rauner Blames Democrats For Three Months Of No Funding For Colleges
Though Illinois has gone over three months without a budget, to the average citizen, state government seems anything but shut down. Court orders and existing law have made it possible for the largest chunks of the state's financial obligations to be paid...except for the state's 12 public colleges and universities.
That includes the University of Illinois, where Gov. Bruce Rauner made a stop on Friday to dedicate the opening of a veterans center on the school's Urbana campus.
Just the day before, Rauner had received a letter from the presidents of most of the state's public universities, requesting state support and warning of possible consequences of underfunded schools.
Rauner says he's told university presidents, including U of I's leader Tim Killeen, that his hands are tied by the Democratically controlled legislature, whose budget the governor almost completely vetoed this summer.
"I have made it clear to the president that I am very unhappy that we do not have yet a budget," Rauner said. "It's outrageous, there's no reason for this to be dragged on so long...and I'm working with the president to help him get efficiencies and economies inside the administration so we can save money wherever possible."
The governor also says he wants to increase state support for universities, despite his spending plan cutting nearly a third of higher education dollars from the state's budget.
Legislators will meet Monday for a hearing on higher education spending on the Eastern Illinois University campus. EIU has already had to cut dozens of staff positions from its payroll due to budgetary constraints.