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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Rauner Tells University Presidents He’s Working For Better Funding, Despite One-Third Cut

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Brian Mackey
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Illinois has gone more than three months without a budget, but state government is anything but shut down.

Court orders and existing law made it possible for the largest chunks of the state's financial obligations to be paid ... except for the state's 12 public colleges and universities. That includes the University of Illinois, where Governor Bruce Rauner dedicated on Friday the opening of a veteran’s center on the school's Urbana campus.

Rauner received a letter from the presidents of most of the state's public universities, requesting state support and warning of possible consequences of underfunded schools.

Rauner says he told university presidents – including U of I’s Tim Killeen – that his hands are tied by the democratically-controlled legislature, whose budget the governor almost completely vetoed this summer.

"I have made it clear to the [U of I] president that I am very unhappy that we do not have yet a budget,” Rauner said. “It's outrageous, there's no reason for this to be dragged on so long...and I'm working with the [U of I] president to help him get efficiencies and economies inside the administration so we can save money wherever possible." 

Rauner also says he wants to increase state support for universities. That’s despite his spending plan, which cuts nearly a third of higher education dollars from the state's budget.

Legislators will meet today for a hearing on higher education spending on the Eastern Illinois University campus.

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. She previously covered the statehouse for The Daily Line and Law360, and also worked a temporary stint at the political blog Capitol Fax in 2018.
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