Rep. Wehrli: Democrat higher ed votes are about headlines, not higher education

While the Democrat majority in the Illinois General Assembly this week pushed more votes on
unfunded appropriations bills, State Representative Grant Wehrli again urged a compromise on a real Higher Education funding solution.

“The sad fact is that these votes are not about higher education, they’re about election year headlines,” said Representative Wehrli (R-Naperville). “These are funding bills with little or no actual funding. That’s not a solution; it’s just another empty promise and Illinois families will continue to pay the price.”

Rep Wehrli and House Republicans moved Thursday to remain in session to work on
the budget. Democrats said no and adjourned the House for a five week vacation.
Representative Wehrli stressed that several options remain on the table that will actually provide needed emergency funding for students’ MAP grants, community colleges and 4-year universities including House Bill 4539, which he is sponsoring. This legislation would provide approximately $1.68 billion that would come from general revenue to adequately fund colleges and universities, and students’ MAP grants. It would work in tandem with the recently filed Unbalanced Budget Response Act – legislation that would afford the Governor ability to manage monies in existing funds to adequately fund programs including higher education.

“Students’ and universities’ budgets are at the breaking point. They can’t pay the bills with an empty promise. They need a plan that will provide actual dollars now. My House Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly asked the speaker and our Democrat colleagues to sit down and work with us to negotiate a responsible bi-partisan funding solution,” Representative Wehrli said. “Instead of adjourning until April, the Speaker needs to keep the House in session and work with us to get it done. Today House Republicans made a motion to reconvene tomorrow. Democrats said no and headed home for their five-week vacation.”