The good news about the budget is that, for the second consecutive year, lawmakers enacted a budget with a level funding appropriation for the University of Illinois of approximately $662 million. The bad news is that the fiscal 2015 budget sent to Gov. Pat Quinn for his approval is unbalanced, and a reconciliation of spending and income tax revenue must be made in the fall legislative session following the election.
This means the fiscal 2015 budget situation remains fluid and uncertain, and a mid-year reduction in the appropriation is possible. However, the University of Illinois has demonstrated in recent years that it is adept at managing its resources and making its case for support, which coincide with the best interests of the state.
First, thanks in part to your calls and emails to state legislators voicing your support for the unintended glitch in the wording of SB1, the state’s public pension funding law, the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) approved an emergency rule that will preserve benefits employees have already earned under the “money purchase” option. The University is hoping this fix will help retain those key faculty and staff who may have been considering retiring this year.
Another legislative priority for the U of I was regulatory relief to cut the red tape that increases our costs and lowers our competitiveness. We succeeded in streamlining the procurement process for specialized medical supplies in our vast health care and medical teaching enterprise, and in ensuring accountability of state-appropriated grants without entangling the U of I’s nearly $1 billion research portfolio. We will continue to make the case for regulatory reform in upcoming legislative sessions.
The successes this legislative session would not have been possible without your efforts and advocacy! Thank you for continuing to be a strong voice on behalf of the University of Illinois and higher education.
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