* Memo to HDems…
To: House Democratic Caucus Members
From: Michael J. Madigan
Date: April 25, 2016
Re: Republican Leadership Comments on Higher Education Funding
Mere hours after the House of Representatives passed a small stopgap funding package for higher education last Friday, the Decatur Herald & Review reported the following:
However, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said the funding approved Friday could end up being all that universities receive for the current fiscal year.
“I’m not quite sure we can get anything else done on higher ed,” Durkin said.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Durkin also said:
“The only thing I’ve made a commitment with is to work with the Democrats on human services.”
The House minority leader’s comments confirmed my predictions about what legislative Republicans and Governor Rauner would do if Senate Bill 2059 moved forward and passed in the form it did. I shared with you in our caucus meeting, among other concerns, that I wanted to continue fighting for a bill that included greater funding for our universities, community colleges and MAP grant recipients to sustain our institutions of higher education for a longer period of time for the very reason the minority leader expressed: I believed the Republicans may consider Senate Bill 2059 a final action on higher education. However, a number of those involved in the negotiations on Senate Bill 2059 felt that was not the case and that the bill was only the first step in a larger agreement for higher education.
In a statement I released last Friday, I expressed hope that Governor Rauner would not see this funding as a final solution to higher education as I had feared, but would begin working with Democrats to craft a full-year budget that properly funded higher education and human services. While I will continue fighting to ensure a full budget is passed for higher education, the House minority leader’s comments just hours after the passage of Senate Bill 2059 do not leave me optimistic that will happen.
* Except Leader Durkin also said this today…
An Illinois legislative leader is predicting the months-long state budget standoff could be nearing an end.
Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin (R) Western Springs, told “The Big John Howell Show” on WLS, ”I’m hopeful we can have an FY (fiscal year) 16 and FY 17 budget that we can accomplish by the end of May. We have members that are now saying ‘Enough’s enough. Let’s get this done.’”
Let’s stop trying to knock the train off the tracks, shall we?