Illinois House Republicans say a measure to appropriate $225 million for tuition assistance grants is more of the same empty promises.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said a recent stopgap measure appropriating money for higher education didn’t go far enough. That bipartisan measure took money from a special fund meant for education assistance.

Madigan said his new bill would fund tuition assistance at the levels the legislature approved but the governor vetoed last year. “This bill provides 100 percent funding for the MAP program with payments coming from the General Revenue Fund,” he said.

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Leading Republican Rep. Jim Durkin said it’s another empty promise because there is not enough money in the General Revenue Fund. “Families, kids, anybody who is watching this, this money is not going to get to you. It’s not responsible. We need to be truthful.”

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora, said passing the bill gives students reasons for hope. “You will get paid because you will be in a queue and you will be considered when money arrives,” she said.

Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-North Aurora, said the bill is another example of Illinois’ bad habits. “This is the type of budgeting approach that has made Illinois the worst managed state in the nation for more than a decade.”.

The measure passed 68-45 and now heads to the Senate.


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