WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Illinois budget

A new report says Illinois state government is at “elevated risk” in the event of an economic downturn.

When it comes to state spending, Illinois politicians are giving voters what they want. That’s the problem.

Rich Egger

Two dozen faculty members at Western Illinois University will lose their jobs as the university contends with declines in student enrollment and state financial support.  During a special meeting of Western's Board of Trustees on Thursday, Chair Cathy Early said the university is repositioning itself while remaining fiscally responsible.

The Higher Education Working Group started meeting last fall to identify ways to reform higher education in Illinois.  And the group continues to meet even after lawmakers adjourned their 2018 legislative session.

The state of Illinois has a budget in place for next fiscal year, which will help public colleges and universities with their planning.  But the president of Western Illinois University said the state appropriation of $47.2 million for WIU falls short of what his school needs.

Watch the first Illinois Issues Forum from Springfield.  Our 2018 election coverage starts discussing the fiscal health of Illinois. 

Last year NPR Illinois toured the state in partnership with NPR member stations to hear how the two-year state budget impasse impacted communities in Illinois. The adoption of a budget provided some clarity for those affected but many challenges remain. 

This year, we aim to seek solutions to many of the fiscal problems that persist and discuss the prominent issues in the 2018 elections. 

TSPR Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University will receive $47.2 million under the state's budget for Fiscal Year '19, which begins July 1, 2018.  That reflects a 2% funding increase for public higher education across the state.  WIU President Jack Thomas told Tri States Public Radio that the slight funding increase is helpful following several years of financial uncertainty including the two year state budget impasse. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed Illinois’ budget into law.

The Illinois legislature overwhelmingly passed a full year budget Thursday. It includes a few plans to cut down on the state’s massive pension debt.


The Illinois General Assembly has approved a budget for the state — and Governor Bruce Rauner is indicating he’ll “enact” it into law.

With just two days remaining in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly, lawmakers are optimistic about passing a state budget on time.

Passing a state budget is arguably the most important thing the Illinois General Assembly does every year — or at least should do every year.

After last year's drama — when a two-year standoff ended with a Republican revolt against Governor Bruce Rauner — it's an open question about how things will go this year.

So I set out to answer a simple question: Will there be another impasse?

There was a rare meeting Thursday among Gov. Bruce Rauner and the top leaders of the Illinois General Assembly.

2018 Budget Address

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been campaigning relentlessly against last year’s income tax increase.

But in his annual budget address Wednesday, he'll call for spending the extra money that rate hike has generated.

One of the biggest changes Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed in today's budget address is making local school districts bear the costs of teacher pensions.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Newsroom

Governor Bruce Rauner is scheduled to unveil his fourth budget proposal Wednesday in a speech to the General Assembly. Illinois lawmakers enacted a budget for one of the three years he's been in office.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas gave a State of the University address at the start of the new school year.  At the time, he said the state of the university was "okay." Now, with the fall semester in the books, Dr. Thomas said the school's situation is improving.

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

A couple of weeks ago, Gloria Delany-Barmann and I returned from a short trip to Puerto Rico.  We went to check up on our colleagues we've been working with the last couple of years and to take a few supplies and funds so generously donated by members of our community to those in need.  And yes, just in case you were wondering, it is possible to take a chainsaw as part of your checked baggage. 

Rich Egger

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) gathered supporters outside the McDonough County Courthouse on a gray and chilly November morning.  Macomb Mayor Mike Inman stood alongside local Republican leaders including County Board Chair Scott Schwerer and Sheriff Rick VanBrooker. The crowd applauded as Hammond delivered the news they came to hear.

The state of Illinois has taken another step toward improving its financial situation, selling $1.5 billion in bonds to help pay down the backlog of overdue bills.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University's strategic plan, Higher Values in Higher Education, states, "Western Illinois University's highest priority is to increase faculty and staff salaries to meet and exceed the mean of peer institutions."  Faculty members reminded the school's Board of Trustees of that goal during the Board's most recent meeting.

More than two months after the Illinois General Assembly finally approved a state budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner is moving ahead with a plan to begin cutting into the $15 billion backlog of bills.

Rich Egger

A University of Illinois researcher said the state's two-year budget crisis has hurt the state's public universities and community colleges.

WIU

The WIU administration blames the uncertainty caused by the two year state budget impasse for this year's drop in enrollment.

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Macomb

Aug 30, 2017

NPR Illinois and Tri States Public Radio host the seventh Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse.

Illinois lawmakers have been called back to the capitol a few times this summer to weigh in on big state issues during legislative special sessions.  Tri States Public Radio recently caught up with Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) when she visited to Macomb. She spoke with TSPR about the two biggest votes of the summer so far: the state budget and K-12 school funding.

The State of Western Illinois University

Aug 17, 2017
Rich Egger

The President of Western Illinois University said it's time to put apprehension behind and move forward with enthusiasm and optimism. Dr. Jack Thomas made the remark during Thursday morning's State of the University speech, held just a few days before the new school year begins.

Carter Staley/NPR Illinois

Between a new state pension plan and Governor Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of the Democrats' school funding plan, some school districts would be in for a big hit in July 2020. The two changes would have a particularly significant impact on districts with high rates of teacher turnover and declining enrollment.

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