Universities prepare to counter Gov. Rauner's proposed cuts

  • Erica Hurtado of Chicago, participates in a rally to save Illinois child care programs for children and working families in the rotunda at the Illinois State Capitol Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Springfield, Ill.   Gov. Bruce Rauner may have proposed a budget that includes no new taxes, but any Illinois resident who thinks they've dodged an increase may want to wait a bit. Democrats say they'll continue to push for a hike, either in Illinois' income tax or other sources, to avoid some of the huge cuts the GOP governor proposed.

    Erica Hurtado of Chicago, participates in a rally to save Illinois child care programs for children and working families in the rotunda at the Illinois State Capitol Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Springfield, Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner may have proposed a budget that includes no new taxes, but any Illinois resident who thinks they've dodged an increase may want to wait a bit. Democrats say they'll continue to push for a hike, either in Illinois' income tax or other sources, to avoid some of the huge cuts the GOP governor proposed. Associated Press

  • In this Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the Budget Address to a joint session of the General Assembly in Springfield Ill. Rauner may have proposed a budget that includes no new taxes, but any Illinois resident who thinks they've dodged an increase may want to wait a bit. Democrats say they'll continue to push for a hike, either in Illinois' income tax or other sources, to avoid some of the huge cuts the GOP governor proposed.

    In this Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the Budget Address to a joint session of the General Assembly in Springfield Ill. Rauner may have proposed a budget that includes no new taxes, but any Illinois resident who thinks they've dodged an increase may want to wait a bit. Democrats say they'll continue to push for a hike, either in Illinois' income tax or other sources, to avoid some of the huge cuts the GOP governor proposed. Associated Press

  • In this Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the Budget Address to a joint session of the General Assembly in Springfield Ill. Rauner may have proposed a budget that includes no new taxes, but any Illinois resident who thinks they've dodged an increase may want to wait a bit. Democrats say they'll continue to push for a hike, either in Illinois' income tax or other sources, to avoid some of the huge cuts the GOP governor proposed.

    In this Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the Budget Address to a joint session of the General Assembly in Springfield Ill. Rauner may have proposed a budget that includes no new taxes, but any Illinois resident who thinks they've dodged an increase may want to wait a bit. Democrats say they'll continue to push for a hike, either in Illinois' income tax or other sources, to avoid some of the huge cuts the GOP governor proposed. Associated Press

 
By DAVID MERCER
Posted2/20/2015 1:20 PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Faced with Gov. Bruce Rauner's surprise plan to cut their state funding by almost a third, Illinois' public universities are preparing to argue such drastic reductions would be a mistake while also mulling what to do if they're enacted.

Universities say they will start making the case that spending on them is an investment in the state's economy.

 

Lawmakers with universities in their districts say they're already talking about how to reduce the proposed cut.

Rauner budget officials say universities draw outside funding that would help them better absorb cuts. But the schools point out that most of that money comes with restrictions on how it can be used.

Small schools such as Western Illinois University say the loss of state funding would hit them harder than larger schools.

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