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Illinois Gets a Budget After 2-Year Impasse

July 7, 2017

The Illinois House of Representatives voted Thursday to override a gubernatorial veto of a package of budget bills, ending a 736-day standoff that had left the state's higher education institutions slashing expenses and scrambling to compensate for uncertain funding streams.

Under a package of bills including increased taxes and some spending cuts, higher education funding is being cut 10 percent below levels from 2015, the last year the state had a budget. But leaders at many of the state's public institutions still issued statements supporting the spending plan because it provides clarity after years of uncertainty. The budget also provides funding for the state's student aid program known as the Monetary Award Program.

Democratic lawmakers had been facing off with the state's Republican governor amid of a host of tax, pension and financial issues. Colleges and universities only received stopgap appropriations during the impasse, and many credited student accounts with Monetary Award Program funding even though it was unclear if and when the state would fund the student financial aid program.

Public universities went through rounds of layoffs, service cuts and furloughs to cut expenses. They also faced pressure from accreditors and bond ratings agencies.

The state's Senate had already voted to override the veto of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. The spending plan totals about $36 billion, according to the Chicago Tribune.

It provides for about $1.76 billion in higher ed funding, down from 2015 levels but up from funding in the two years when the state did not pass an annual budget.

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Rick Seltzer

Rick Seltzer, Projects Editor, oversaw special projects and coordinated daily production for Inside Higher Ed from 2019 through May 2021. He joined the publication in 2016, covering finance and management. Previously, he worked as a reporter for The Baltimore Business Journal, The Bloomington Herald-Times, the Central New York Business Journal and The Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has covered numerous business, municipal, government and general assignment beats. Rick graduated from Syracuse University in 2008.

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