Editorial: Proposed budget cuts leave Eastern at an impasse

For the past month, one issue has dominated the minds of the Illinois General Assembly, putting all other issues on hold until it is resolved.

The scandal surrounding Gov. Rod Blagojevich has taken the spotlight in Springfield and calls all attention on itself, casting all other issues in the shadow.

Naturally, Eastern should be affected by any problem interrupting the flow of money regulated by the General Assembly.

With Blagojevich’s future hanging in the balance, Eastern is unsure of how to approach a 2.5 percent budget cut the governor proposed.

Granted, the governor was surely not trying to screw up Illinois higher education by proposing a budget cut just before (stupidly) being found out in the pay-or-play scandal. After all, the position of the governor of Illinois is one of truth and justice, right?

It would be nice of the governor to push this piece of legislation before the General Assembly forcibly empties his office. For now, the proposed budget cut remains on reserve, meaning the General Assembly has until June 30 to either approve or disapprove.

The five-month gap puts Eastern and other Illinois universities in a tough spot.

William Weber, associate vice president for academic affairs, said in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Eastern News, “the sooner the better for us, because by that time most of the money will have been spent and it could cause problems for future budgeting.” In other words, the sooner the General Assembly votes on the proposed budget, the sooner Eastern can calculate a 2010 budget.

Otherwise, spending continues without the budget cut, making a mess out of budgets Eastern may pass in the future: Eastern would be forced to pull money out of future budgets to pay for the cuts from the current fiscal year.

Until this budget cut is resolved, there is no conceivable way Eastern can formulate a 2010 budget without putting itself in financial trouble.

No problem, right? Soon enough, the General Assembly will convene and vote on the budget cut, allowing Eastern to calculate its own spending.

The only problem is the very man who proposed the cut.

The General Assembly is crazy for impeachment and wants to get it out of the way as soon as possible and rightfully so. But at the same time, the elected officials in Springfield must take care of the higher institutions that helped put them there in the first place.

Editorial Policy

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at [email protected].