Springfield– Illinois Senate Democrat leaders attempted to ram through another purported attempt at funding MAP grant scholarships for college students March 2, but again failed to include any actual funding mechanism to pay for it, according to State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
“You have to look at the whole picture—the Democrats have flat-out refused multiple alternatives that would actually provide money to fund MAP grants and higher education, and instead chose to write a check destined to bounce," said Sen. Barickman.
Senate Bill 2043, which would order the state to pay $721 million toward MAP grant scholarships and community college funding, had previously passed the General Assembly on a partisan vote. The measure was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner because the legislation offered no source of revenue, and the state simply didn’t have the money to pay.
“There are multiple alternatives on the table that would actually provide money to fund our colleges AND universities, as well as pay for MAP grants,” said Sen. Barickman. “But Democrats are more focused on trying to teach the Governor a lesson than they are about actually keeping our colleges open.”
Sen. Barickman pointed to legislation he is sponsoring, which would fund MAP grants, community colleges, and four-year colleges, partly by freeing up hundreds of millions of dollars through procurement reform. He noted that there have been several other proposals to fund higher education as well, but they had all been refused a vote in either the House or Senate. Instead, Democrats in the Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 2043, but the override motion filed in the House.
“The reality is that every vote to override the veto is really a vote against actually funding higher education,” said Sen. Barickman. “Democrat leaders need to come to the negotiating table right now if we are to save our precious universities.”