Saturday, July 4, 2015

Illinois budget stalemate hits U. of I. campus - ASSOCIATED PRESS

The state budget standoff already has some programs and projects on hold at the University of Illinois, and faculty and others say they’re nervous about what might be ahead. Gov. Bruce Rauner wants deep state spending cuts and has frozen a number of programs until a budget for the new fiscal year is complete. On Thursday, he vetoed most of a $36.3 billion budget approved by legislators. It was more than $3 billion short on needed revenue. Earlier this year, Rauner proposed a 31.5 percent cut in higher-education spending. The state provides only about 11 percent of the university’s $5.6 billion operating budget, but the governor’s first proposed cut in that state appropriation would still mean a loss of more than $200 million. U. of I. President Timothy Killeen and other presidents of public universities have since met with the governor and his staff to try to convince him to cut less. Killeen said he hopes the final figure is closer to the 8.6 percent cut approved by legislators in their proposed budget. That would mean a cut of about $57 million in state operating money. “Undoubtedly, there’s anxiety at some level. It’s not just the University of Illinois. It’s across the state of Illinois,” Killeen said.

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