Illinois’ Governor wants to get rid of a program that provides taxpayer funded college education to state workers, but a union says the perk has value. A spokesperson for Governor Bruce Rauner tells the Illinois News Network the Upward Mobility perk is “not something the state can afford” and the Governor has proposed discontinuing funding for the program in the upcoming budget.
The program is subject to ongoing labor negotiations with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, one of the state’s largest unions. The Governor’s administration says the state has spent over three-point-three-million dollars annually on tuition for participants of the program. Rauner’s office also says the program cost half-a-million to administer. A spokesperson for AFSCME says the program benefits the employee by providing continued education while benefiting the state by having better educated employees. Rauner is also looking to make health insurance and pension benefits for state workers less generous. The current AFSCME contract expires with the current fiscal June 30th.