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This is The Players, your update on who's who in Illinois politics and what they're up to. We encourage you to comment on Illinois leadership.Amanda Vinicky curates this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.

Cost Of College, Partially Privatizing DCEO General Assembly's Next Focus

Amanda Vinicky

The end of the month, and therefore the end of Illinois' fiscal year, gets closer every day. With no budget deal in place, Illinois' General Assembly will return tomorrow.

The Democrats who control the legislature have already approved a spending plan, but that's on hold. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he won't go along with the out-of-balance budget; he'll only discuss the tax hikes required to help fund it if his pro-business agenda is passed.

The Illinois House will focus on one item from Rauner's wish-list: partially privatizing the state's Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Back in the spring, DCEO Director Jim Schultz told legislators it would create a new culture, "a more dynamic, more energized culture that is consistent with what we've seen in other states."

However, critics fear it could lead to a misuse of state funds.

The Senate, meanwhile, will spend its time in a special hearing dedicated to college affordability, with presentations on financial aide and testimony from a student government leader.

Rauner's proposed budget reduces higher education funding by at least 30-percent; he says administrative costs should be cut. Democrats say that would force college tuition to spike; their budget includes a reduction of state university funding of roughly 6.5-percent.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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