Friday, June 10, 2016

Illinois Atlas of Austerity

UIUC geography student Melissa Heil has put together an impressive website offering graphics depicting the effects the budget impasse. The Champaign News-Gazette has a story given some background on her efforts.

I paste below what was one of her more striking graphics, one showing how many students eligible for state MAP grants did not get them even before the crisis. According to her figures, 125,000 students were funded on this program last year, but the state paid for less than half of those students with the stop-gap spending bill, with universities fronting the money otherwise (leaving it uncertain in some cases whether students will have to pay their MAP grants back as if they were loans).

Tastefully hidden after the break, a quick update on non-happenings in Springfield.

Meanwhile, back in Springfield not even stopgap budgetary bills can be passed. Weeks ago the legislature overwhelmingly approved a stopgap bill for public services, the largest remaining part of the state government to receive zero funding for FY 2016, but the governor refuses to sign it. The governor for his part attacks the Democrats for refusing to pass the stopgap budget he introduced at the end of the spring legislative session. Bond-ratings agencies have downgraded Illinois' credit rating again, raising borrowing costs for the state. And in one nice irony, a social services provider run by the governor's wife, a Democrat, is part of a group suing the state for reimbursement.

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