A press release from State Rep. Kent Gaffney:
Gaffney, Sullivan Turn Down Legislative Scholarship Program
Barrington, IL… Due to State budgetary troubles, State Representatives Kent Gaffney (R-Lake Barrington) and Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) have jointly decided to turn down the General Assembly Scholarship Program offered to each legislator in the Illinois General Assembly.
The General Assembly Scholarship Program is an unfunded mandate that allows legislators to award up to eight scholarships each year covering tuition at State universities.
“While many people have benefited from this program, in times like these, unfunded mandates and extra costs to the State need to be reviewed,” said Gaffney. “Illinois just had its ninth bond downgrade in the past four years and the State is facing billions of dollars of unpaid bills. We need to look at every option available to save taxpayer dollars, this not the time to be awarding Legislative Scholarships.”
In 2011, 1,327 tuition waivers were awarded in Illinois, costing the State $13,508,800. This $13.5 million is an unfunded mandate on State universities, where the cost is then passed on to other students paying tuition. Tuition rates in Illinois have been skyrocketing the past few years. Since 2003, the University of Illinois’ tuition rate has gone up 53%, averaging $14,414 a year. With State finances in dire straights and taxpayers getting hit with a 67% tax increase, Gaffney and Sullivan want to cut costs by not participating in the program.
“I have participated in this program since I was first elected and many deserving students have benefited from these scholarships. However in these tough economic times, tough decisions have to be made,” said Sullivan. “My office will no longer be offering the General Assembly Scholarship.”
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Here’s what Mike Tryon is doing.