Gov. Rauner Vetoes Fake Funding Bill for Higher Education; Rep. Hays Asks for HBs 4539 and 4521 to Be Released from Rules Committee

Today Governor Rauner followed through on a promise to veto any higher education funding bill that did not include a funding mechanism. SB 2043, which was pushed through by Democrats at the end of January, promised funding for community colleges and MAP grants, but failed to identify source to pay for them.

“The passage of SB 2043 was nothing more than a cruel hoax on the part of Speaker Madigan’s caucus, because it was a promise of phantom money for community colleges and grants for disadvantaged students,” said Chad Hays. “Their bill also did not include any of Illinois’ four year colleges like the University of Illinois, and Governor Rauner made it clear at the time that he would veto it. Today’s action should not come as a surprise to anyone.”

Hays continued, saying that a better option existed at the time of SB 2043’s approval. “The role of the General Assembly is to provide real solutions, and for that reason a group of my colleagues and I sponsored HB 4539, which would have funded community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and provided for MAP Grants,” Hays said. “Most importantly, our bill partnered with a companion bill that provided a funding stream so that real dollars could flow.”

According to Hays, Speaker Madigan blocked HB 4539 and HB 4521 from being assigned to a committee, where they could be properly vetted and debated. “College students and employees at our institutions of higher learning need to know that there is a bill and supporting bill out there right now that not only promises their funding, but also provides for the necessary revenue stream,” said Hays. “It is beyond inappropriate that our House Speaker is continuing to play political games with an issue as important as higher education. I stand with many of my colleagues in demanding that our higher education funding bills be released from the Rules Committee immediately.”