Wednesday, February 22, 2012

University state budget news good so far

The Southern has a quick story on Quinn's budget address, with reactions from Cheng and Poshard. The news here re the overall budget is good (i.e., Quinn does not advocate cuts to the higher ed budget), and includes plans to increase funding for MAP grants. But there are lingering concerns about pensions, in two senses: employees may be asked to pay more, and employers (i.e., the university) might be asked to pay more, which would mean less money was available for other things. Of course the final budget approved by the legislature may differ greatly. But the reaction to Quinn's message from the democratic leaders of the legislature was warmer than last year, at least according to the Chicago Tribune article, which including the following interesting bit from Senate President John Cullerton:
Cullerton called it time to “take the next leap forward in comprehensive pension reforms that control costs while preserving the constitutional rights of current employees and retirees.”

“Unlike Indiana and Wisconsin, we intend to work with unions to accomplish this goal,” Cullerton said.
There is of course plenty of bad news in this budget plan as well, including closures of several downstate facilities. Quinn, though, is obviously making education, including higher education, a priority, for which those of us in that line of work should be thankful.