Rep. Phillips Pushes Bi-Partisan Emergency Funding Proposal for Higher Education

State Representative Reggie Phillips this week filed a bi-partisan plan to provide emergency state funding for four-year universities, including Eastern Illinois University, and community colleges. While the state’s budget stalemate continues, Representative Phillips (R-Charleston) stressed that Higher Education cannot wait any longer for state funding.

“This impasse has gone on for more than eight months…that’s two thirds of a year that Eastern and other colleges and universities have struggled without funding. They can’t go on any longer. We need to provide emergency funding, and we need to do it now,” Phillips said.

This week Representative Phillips along with State Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) filed legislation providing $160 million in emergency funding for Universities like Eastern, and an additional $40 million for community colleges. Phillips’ House Bill 6409 would be funded by redirecting dollars currently earmarked to repay excess fund balances swept last year.

“The so-called funding plan the governor vetoed last week was rejected because it didn’t include any actual funding. It was a hoax,” Phillips said. “The plan Representative Dunkin and I have filed, however, specifies exactly where the funding will come from, so universities can be confident we will actually deliver the dollars we are promising.”

Representative Phillips said he will push for prompt consideration of House bill 6409 when the House reconvenes next week.

“I was fortunate enough to attend and receive my degree from Eastern. Because of that education, I have been able to start a business and raise my own family in the Illinois community I grew up in. I want my children and grandchildren to be able to build their lives here as well, so for me supporting our universities isn’t about policy; it’s about family and community,” Representative Phillips said. “I have introduced a real, workable plan to get our universities through the rest of the fiscal year and we need to adopt it immediately. I’m going to continue to work with administration, faculty, students, the governor, and legislators on both sides of the aisle on a long-term plan to ensure proper funding for higher education so we never find ourselves in this terrible situation again.”