Rauner Signs Bill Giving State Higher Ed $600 Million In Emergency Funds
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Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a bill into law that allocates $600 million in emergency funding to public higher education in Illinois. The bipartisan bill will fund universities, colleges, community collegs, the Illinois Math & Science Academy and grants for low-income students, —though the funding is only a fraction of what Illinois universities expect (and need) from the state in 2016.
Rauner acknowledged that the funding was a stopgap measure, too, in a statement on Monday. “This legislation doesn't solve our budget crisis or help our economy grow, but it does represent a first step toward compromise between Democrats and Republicans," Rauner writes. "Now is the time to build on this bipartisan momentum and focus on enacting a truly balanced budget for Fiscal Years 2016-2017 alongside meaningful reforms that create jobs and free up resources for education, social services and infrastructure.”
Rauner is referencing the gridlock around Illinois' state budget for 2015-2016, which Rauner seems to have given up on entirely, at least for now; his statement references only the budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Another bipartisan bill, allocating $400 million to Illinois social services, has passed the Illinois Senate but still has not cleared the Illinois House, according to Crain's.