Bourne Takes Aim at Funding Higher Education

Litchfield… Today, State Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) joined in sponsoring legislation aimed at finding a way to fund colleges and universities in Illinois that’s fiscally possible in the midst of the current state budget impasse.

“The Chicago legislative leadership that’s stonewalled reform for the past year and prevented a path to a state budget pushed through a spending bill today that does nothing to truly fund our higher educational system,” said Bourne. “With our State already spending more than we’re taking in, simply passing more spending legislation and implying that we’ll find the money is completely disingenuous.”

The Illinois House and Senate both passed Senate Bill 2043 on Thursday which appropriates general funds to both community colleges and MAP grants that go to help subsidize tuition for many Illinois students. While the measure passed, it was noted throughout the debate that without a revenue source there’s little accomplished in advancing the measure.

A group of Republicans including Bourne alternatively advocated for House Bill 4539 which would have created a path toward funding higher education directly contingent on another measure providing the current administration with the enhanced ability to manage the State’s financial resources.

“We must begin to bring real solutions to the table and stop the empty rhetoric and equally empty promises,” added Bourne. “This alternative proposal was thoughtfully drafted as a starting point for compromise, but was met with absolutely zero interest from the Democratic leadership in the House.”

The measure passed today was met with stiff resistance from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget who cited the lack of financial resources to fund the initiative and referenced the Republican alternative as a more realistic approach. Bourne remains optimistic that solutions will begin to emerge towards solving the budget impasse but was disappointed with today’s outcome.

“The people of Illinois deserve better,” she added.