Gov. Bruce Rauner continues a push for his preferred forms of getting some money to Illinois colleges and university this fiscal year.

The governor favors a Republican sponsored measure to fund higher education while Democrats have opposed it, saying that method grants Rauner too much authority to take from other state funds at will.

Democrats sent the governor a separate measure Rauner vetoed, saying Democrats fully know the state does not have the fiscal year 2016 general funds to pay for it.

The governor threw his support behind two bills to fund higher education.

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House Bill 6409, sponsored by Democratic Representative Ken Dunkin of Chicago, would provide a total of $200 million in emergency assistance to public universities and community colleges.

House Bill 4539 would appropriate $1.6 billion to State universities and fund MAP grants. It has been Republicans’ preferred measure.

Governor Rauner says if both measures pass, funding for state universities will be made available right away.

“We have a bipartisan bill to fund our universities with $160 million right now that I can support, and we can make the money available,” Rauner said.

“It would not be my first choice,” the governor said of the $200 emergency measure. “I’d rather fund these through pension reform, or through the Unbalanced Budget Response Act to fund our universities. That would be my preference,” Rauner said.

Later this week, the Senate is expected to take up a veto override vote of Senate Bill 2043, the Democratic initiative that sought to appropriate $721 million to state colleges and universities, something the governor said didn’t have a funding source and would only add to the state’s deficit.


(Copyright WBGZ / )