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|Quinn Assures MAP Grant Funding
|The state is officially promising money for college students, though a specific source of that money hasn't been found.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday signed into law a measure providing full funding to the Monetary Award Program for needy college students for the spring semester 2010, totaling $205 million, and affecting 138,000 students. The governor was accompanied by college students and university administrators at a bill signing ceremony in Chicago . The move was necessary because the state budget for Fiscal Year 2010 contained funding for MAP grants only for the fall semester 2009, and Quinn did not commit discretionary funds for spring 2010, leaving students unsure whether they could afford college next year.
Still an issue, though, is where the state will find the money to keep the promise made by this statute.
The governor says the state has the money, or will have it if it raises revenue. Quinn has proposed an increase in the cigarette tax, closing corporate tax loopholes, and raising the personal income tax rate, while raising the personal exemption, so that the burden doesn't fall hard on moderate- and low-income taxpayers.
The governor also plans to try to sell to legislative leaders this week the idea of borrowing $1 billion from that funds that have surpluses. This would be different from the controversial "fund sweeps" that have been used to close budget gaps in recent years, because under this proposal, the money would be paid back, interest-free, within 18 months.
The state has a variety of funds that are set aside for special purposes, often funded with special taxes or fees, that in aggregate have a surplus of about $4.5 billion, the governor's office says. Quinn would not identify all the funds from which he would borrow, but he said the road fund is a likely source.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|10 19 09 by Newsroom
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