Gov. Rauner signs stopgap budget (Updated)

Sam Fishel, Staff Reporter

Updated with statements from President Glassman and Democratic candidate Dennis Malak

 

After many months of partisan discussion, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a stopgap budget after Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly worked together to hammer out a budget that partially funds higher education, MAP grants and K-12 schools across the state.

In an email to Eastern employees, President Glassman said the approved appropriation for Eastern is $26.2 million as well as $3.5 million for the remaining amount of MAP Grants that the university advanced to the students during the spring semester.

We realize that this is only the first step toward a complete and full state budget for Fiscal Year 2017,” he said. “As such, we must continue to be extremely prudent and cautious in our expenditures to ensure they are equal to, or less than, our revenues in the upcoming academic year.”

We no longer have reserves to protect us against shortfalls,” he said.

In an email to The News, Democratic candidate Dennis Malak questioned why it took so long to pass this legislation.

“I applaud those legislators who – for the last year and half – have voted against the well-being of our universities, social services, and workers, for FINALLY coming together to vote for a measure to partially fund those items that are desperately needed,” he said. “However, we need a common sense bill passed that gets us all the way so we can begin the work to repair instead of dealing with ongoing uncertainty.”

The real congratulations go to those who have been fighting for us. The FundEIU groups, the social services and offices who have continued to serve without pay or assurances, and the countless others who have rallied, marched and called on the state to do the right thing. Our sincerest thanks to them,” he said.

In the wake of the accomplishment, local politicians spoke up about their feelings related to the budget impasse, the new stopgap budget, and their impacts on the local community.

In a press release, Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) said, “This budget agreement is beyond overdue,” He added that compromise was the foundation of this “affordable and responsible” budget.

“This proves good things can happen when everyone works together,” he said.

Rep. Reggie Phillips (R-Charleston) celebrated the day’s events, hailing the bill that will reportedly give Eastern near full funding for the next six months as a “major victory.”

He implored his fellow lawmakers to continue the efforts put forth today to “put Illinois citizens ahead of partisan games.”

“This [bill] ensures EIU and all the community colleges… can operate through the fall semester,” Righter said, adding that he hopes the bill will bring more confidence to college students and faculty.

In addition to funding for higher education, the stopgap budget raised the amount allotted to K-12 programs across the state. Over a 12-month period, public schools will now receive about $7.2 billion, up from about $6.7 billion in the previous budget.

Along with the funding for higher education, Phillips believes that this measure gets Illinois “one step closer to funding our educational institutions at the level they need and deserve.”

While Righter lamented the need for a nearly “monumental calamity” to push legislators into action, he was pleased to see Democrats and Republicans working together in a non-partisan manner.

“We can pass long-term solutions to Illinois’ fiscal and economic problems. It will take a lot of work, difficult choices, and long-term planning…but I believe that can happen.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation applauds passage of the stopgap measure and will proceed as scheduled with its road and bridge construction program as workers on IDOT projects will be permitted to be on the job as usual on Friday, July 1.

 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available

Sam Fishel can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]