Rauner Vetoes $3.9B In Spending For Colleges, Human Services

Jun 13, 2016

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation Friday that would have given nearly $4 billion to higher education and human services providers. The governor called the measure "an empty promise."

Credit State of Illinois

The legislation would have paid for substance abuse treatment, autism programs and homelessness prevention. It also included full funding for colleges, universities and tuition waivers for low-income students. 

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says higher education got some emergency funding in April, but social service providers have seen nothing from the state in nearly a year. 

"They don't have a chance for funding because there is no appropriations authority," Currie said.

In a message released with his veto, the governor said the state doesn't have the money to pay for the legislation. Rauner says Illinois needs “real solutions” to its financial problems. He says that, without a balanced budget, the legislation is "just an unfunded, empty promise'' or "a check written from an over-drawn bank account.''

Rauner's veto was expected, but Democrats who approved the measure said the money is needed to keep colleges and universities and social service agencies operating.

It's possible the General Assembly could vote to override the veto, but it would take a three-fifths majority in each chamber.

Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature have been deadlocked on a budget for the fiscal year that ends this month, and for next year.

The bill is SB2046.

  • The Associated Press contributed to this report.