Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Details of House Democratic plan emerge

Things are coming to a head at Springfield as the state comes up against the May 31 deadline to pass a FY 17 budget with a bare majority.

The House Democratic leadership (i.e., Madigan) has a scheme that basically calls for spending at the levels they approved (but were never enacted) for FY16. This is a 6.5% cut for higher education from FY15 levels. Here's their full plan; here's just the two pages on higher education, which include some specifics for SIU.

Alas, this plan is probably going nowhere. The state GOP has called it "the phoniest of phony budgets"; as it includes no new revenues, the plan doesn't balance the budget. It very strangely assumes that much of Illinois government will continue to be funded by court orders--i.e., it assumes that no overall budget will pass, which would remove the need for those court orders. There is, in short, some sort of political gamemanship going on--perhaps an effort to force Rauner to veto something that looks good, or at least contains funding that Democrats can tout to constituents. Here's an analysis from Greg Hinz at Crain's that points out that the plan contains K-12 funding--thereby linking it to everything else, rather than keeping K-12 separate, which would allow Rauner to support K-12 while vetoing everything else, as he did last year.

I bother posting the details only because they show what House Democrats would like to do for higher education. But it's less clear that they—or anyone else—is more interested in doing something for higher education, or the state as a whole, than they are interested in 'winning' the grand battle between Rauner and Madigan. 

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