- Published: Thursday, March 17, 2016 03:32 PM
Southern Illinois University and other state universities would finally get state support and potentially scale back program cuts and layoffs thanks to legislation State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) supported Thursday in the Illinois Senate.
“This has gone on long enough,” Haine said. “Today we sent yet another plan to help get Illinois back on track. As we enter our ninth month without a budget, I hope we can finally find room to compromise. As I have said before, any ‘pro-growth’ agenda must include a commitment to the Illinois system of higher education. SIU in Edwardsville attracts students throughout the Midwest and is essential to our economic future, as well as our students’ futures.”
Just last week university officials testified in a Senate committee hearing that deep cuts and layoffs were coming because the state had stopped supporting state schools. Haine helped the Senate approve legislation that includes $185 million in support for SIU.
The proposal which Haine supported would also give the governor financial authority to release funding that would allow social service and senior care providers to stay afloat.
“When we have seniors not receiving Meals on Wheels or the help they need because the Community Care Program is suffering, we have an issue. We cannot carry on like this as a state,” Haine said.
Many of these agencies have contracts with the state but are not covered under continuing appropriations or court orders. The measure passed by the Senate on Thursday would simply give the governor the authority and ability to honor contracts he signed.
The measure, Senate Bill 2059, passed the Senate with a vote of 39 to 18 and will now go to the house for consideration.