House of Representatives fails to override higher education funding veto

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

The Illinois House of Representatives failed to pass an attempt to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of SB2043, which would have funded Monetary Award Program grants and community colleges Wednesday.

Rauner vetoed SB2043 because he said it would “explode the state’s budget deficit, exacerbate the state’s cash flow crisis, and place further strain on social service providers and recipients who are already suffering from the state’s deficit spending.”

The bill would have appropriated $721.5 million to MAP grants and community colleges.

The House voted 69 to 48 to override the veto, but the override needed 71 votes, making them two votes short.

This came after the Illinois State Senate voted to override the veto in a vote of 37 to 17.

Rep. Reggie Phillips was one of the 48 representatives who voted no to overriding the veto.

Travis Akin, a spokesperson for Phillips, said Phillips voted not to override the veto because the $9 million that would be given to Eastern was not enough, and there was no realistic way to pay for the funding.

“It’s not a realistic solution,” Akin said. “There’s no funding mechanism to fund these bills.”

Akin said the bill was just symbolic and did not address the key issue, and it would just be another bill the state could not pay.

He said all the bill did was authorize funding, but there was no way given to free up money to make the payments.

“Where does (the money) come from?” he asked.

Senator Dale Righter voted no to overriding the bill when it was in the Senate as well.

Righter said he voted not to override the veto because the bill does not fund four-year universities, only MAP grants and community colleges.

“There’s not one dime in this legislation to pay for utility bills, to pay for teacher staff or support,” Righter said. “There’s not one dime to pay for student workers.”

Righter also voted against SB2043 when it first passed through the Senate.

Righter said he took no joy in voting the way he did, because he also represents the community colleges which would have received funding, but the universities and colleges needed to be funded together.

“You can’t leave one portion out,” Righter said.

Righter said the other issue he had with the bill was that universities would lose the community college in the coalition to get higher education funding, because they would have already gotten their money.

He said the bill would leave 200,000 college students and employees out in the cold.

Democrats argued that the bill would help students who receive grants be able to attend school and give universities who are floating the grant to students the money they need.

Senate President John Cullerton said the Governor let the students who were promised financial aid by his administration down when he vetoed SB2043.

All of the senators who voted to override the veto of SB2043 are Democrats, and all the ones who voted not to are Republicans.

There was one Democrat in the House who voted against overriding the bill.

Steve Brown, spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Madigan, said after listening to the alibi hour Wednesday, the Illinois House will be asked to consider an alternative proposal to fund higher education.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]