Rep. Butler Offers Alternative Plan for Higher Education Funding

Today, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed flawed legislation aimed at funding community colleges and MAP grants for college students. The Democrat bill (SB 2043) was vetoed by the Governor because it did not have a direct funding mechanism which would have resulted in money not being available to pay community colleges and MAP grants.

“The  bill vetoed by the Governor lacked appropriated funds,” said Rep. Butler. “It was a false promise to students and our community.  I co-sponsored alternative legislation (HB 4539) that would fund community colleges, public universities and MAP grants.  Governor Rauner has agreed to sign this bill as soon as it reaches his desk.  I urge my Democrat colleagues to sponsor this bill and help us send it to the Governor’s desk.

“This week I met with students from my alma mater, Eastern Illinois University,” Butler added.  “We discussed their concerns about the future of Illinois’ higher education system and lack of action from the legislature.  I told these students that the legislature should also pass a bill that allows our public universities to borrow money to assist them with cash flow in these extraordinary times.  This plan would at least help keep their doors open when public universities are not receiving state funding due to a budget impasse.”

House Bill 4539 co-sponsored by State Representative Tim Butler would fund public universities at 80% of their Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) appropriations, community colleges at 90% of their FY15 appropriations and fund MAP grants. The alternative proposal offered by Rep. Butler and his Republican colleagues would appropriate $1.68 billion for higher education.