To hear Gov. Pat Quinn tell it, the General Assembly failed tens of thousands of would-be college students by slashing funding for a financial aid program.
For more than a month, Quinn has crisscrossed Illinois, promising to push lawmakers to find $200 million for the Monetary Award Program and chastising them for leaving 137,000 students wondering if they’ll be able to pay tuition next spring — even though he helped create the problem.
In July, the governor signed the budget that provided only about half of the money needed to get the $440 million MAP program through the school year. And he didn’t use $1.2 billion in discretionary funding the budget provided him for the program, choosing instead to spend that money on state social service agencies.
Even so, with the Legislature convening Wednesday, Quinn has continued to deliver speeches around the state calling on lawmakers to deliver money for MAP.
"When it comes to this important education funding issue, we will not accept a grade of incomplete from the Legislature," Quinn said.
Critics say Quinn is trying to depict himself as a hero to gloss over his role in the dilemma.
"It’s not fair at all," said Kent Redfield, an emeritus political science professor at the University Illinois-Springfield. "It’s the governor’s budget, he signed off on it. There was clearly enough discretionary spending in what the governor signed off on to cover this."
Tip of the hat to a local State Representative for pointing out this article.