state budget

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

The prospects that Illinois' nearly yearlong budget stalemate will soon end are quickly diminishing even though Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's still "hopeful" for a deal.

Legislative leaders were meeting with Rauner Thursday afternoon. But Democrats have so far ignored Rauner's calls for compromise.

House Democrats have approved their own budget that the governor says is $7 billion out of balance.

His aides say he'll likely veto it if the plan gets to his desk. It includes education funding but Rauner hasn't said what he'll do with that portion of the plan.

State of Illinois

Illinois' top political leaders remain divided. Tomorrow there will be only eight days left for them to reach a budget deal.

It's crunch time, says Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno:

"It is critically important that we complete this task within the next eight days or it becomes much more difficult."

More difficult, because it takes a supermajority -- rather than a simple one -- to pass a budget after the end of this month.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has gone out of his way to strike an optimistic tone that it can happen.

One of the few areas that's been exempt from the state's budget impasse -- now in its ninth month -- is public schools, the institutions that prepare children for college.

 

Of course, to get into college, you need to take an entrance exam, like the ACT or the SAT, and that's traditionally funded by the Illinois State Board of Education.

 

But not this year.

Illinois Board of Higher Education

The budget that Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed this week recommends a 16 percent cut to higher education. This year's proposed cut sounds gentler than the 32 percent reduction Rauner recommended last year. But instead of being spread across higher education, virtually all of the pain would fall upon the state's universities. 

These proposed reductions come after higher education has gone without state funding of any kind for more than seven months.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb-area education leaders, students, and service providers held a rally Thursday at Northern Illinois University to send a

   message to state lawmakers: end the budget impasse.

There were no organized chants, no waving signs -- but there IS a social media hashtag: #RallyForIL

Students from NIU and Kishwaukee College were among the community members who spoke up about how the lack of a state budget hurts them, especially the hold on MAP grants, which help pay for their schooling.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

A Chicago-based research group says cleaning up Illinois' budget mess will require difficult decisions such as raising the income tax, slashing spending and imposing taxes on food, services and some retirement income.

In an analysis released Thursday, the Civic Federation's Institute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability says the state budget stalemate has only exacerbated Illinois' enormous financial problems.

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall says “there are no more politically popular solutions left.''

uis.edu

Susan Koch, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, says her campus is managing to weather the budget impasse, thanks to the school’s push to recruit more students.

Koch says that decision,made five years ago, is paying off now with record-high enrollment.

In a brief speech to the faculty senate last week, Koch tried to reassure employees, telling them the university is doing okay, despite eight months without aid.

Community College Students Hurting In Budget Battle

Jan 25, 2016

Illinois community colleges students are caught up in a political battle between the Republican governor and Democratic legislators.

cps.edu

The head of the Chicago Public Schools says the district will lay off some of its central office staff today.

District CEO Forrest Claypool's statement came a day after top Illinois Republicans called for a state takeover of the financially troubled school district.

The district has a nearly $1 billion budget deficit that could lead to thousands of teacher layoffs and a strike.

Claypool did not say how many people, including administrative staff, would be laid off, but teachers are not expected to be among them.

The state budget impasse has largely spared public schools, thanks to Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to fund them for the entire year. But some school districts are still hurting.

Illinois school funding relies heavily on property taxes.

That means districts with thriving industries and expensive homes spend as much as $30,000 per student every year, while districts with few businesses and modest homes get by on as little as $7,000 per student.

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