“I applaud Governor Quinn for signing this legislation today, ending a program that unfortunately became synonymous with abuse.” – Senator Linda Holmes

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Quinn signed legislation today ending the troubled legislative scholarship program.  House Bill 3810 abolishes the tuition waiver program and sets up a task force to review and evaluate other tuition and fee waiver programs offered by universities in Illinois. 

State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) ended her participation in the program in January.    

“I applaud Governor Quinn for signing this legislation today, ending a program that unfortunately became synonymous with abuse,” Senator Holmes said.  “I am proud of the many students in my district that worked hard and benefited from this program.  And it is unfortunate that students could not continue to utilize this program.  However with allegations of abuse by some legislators, ending the program is a necessary step to restore faith and integrity in state government.”

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 “These reforms will bring fiscal integrity back to Illinois. It’s not going to happen overnight, but this is part of the long-term plan to help us lay out the path our state needs to follow. And that’s the path of fiscal responsibility,” – Senator Linda Holmes

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The way Illinois reports its financial standing will get a major facelift under legislation sent to the governor today by the Illinois Senate. The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), comes on the heels of a February 2011 audit that described Illinois’ outdated and inefficient accounting systems as “archaic.”

“If we can’t keep track of where Illinois stands financially, how can we possibly get our fiscal house in order?” Senator Holmes said. “Sending this overhaul legislation is a major step toward addressing a serious problem that’s been growing for years. I urge the governor to sign this into law quickly to help get our state back on solid financial footing.”

The Auditor General’s report last year found that the state’s current way of financial reporting is comprised of over 250 different, costly accounting systems. And over 80% of the outdated systems are not compliant with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which are used to compare expenses and income, among other things.

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The Illinois Senate passed a balanced budget for the next fiscal year that spends $255 million less than last year’s, fully funds the state’s pension obligations, and sets aside $1.3 billion to pay old bills. While making across-the-board cuts to most agency budgets, it avoids reductions to K-12 education, MAP grants, and other priorities. The budget uses extra money from special funds to pay vendors like childcare providers and nursing homes. The budget stays within caps established earlier this year based on the state’s expected revenue.

Statement from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora):

“Although this wasn’t an ideal budget, it puts us on a path toward fiscal certainty in our state. It spends less, pays down our backlog of bills, does the best it can to protect our most vital services, like education. Our plan makes some tough, albeit necessary, cuts to state programs while not taking any funds away from local government. It is a responsible plan that balances the state budget in a fair way.”

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“I look forward to putting this distraction behind us so we can focus on other important issues in the coming weeks – like balancing the budget and ensuring the State lives within its means.” – Senator Linda Holmes

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In January, Illinois Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) made the decision to stop offering the legislative scholarship program after a series of reports came out about abuse within the program. Nearly four months later, the entire Illinois Senate followed suit as a measure to abolish the program passed out of the Senate chamber this afternoon.

House Bill 3810 would abolish the tuition waiver program and set up a task force to review and evaluate tuition and fee waiver programs offered by universities in Illinois.

“I welcome the rest of the General Assembly in the effort to eliminate fraudulent and abusive practices in our State. The time to end the troubled scholarship program has come and I am pleased that the rest of the General Assembly has finally realized that,” Senator Holmes said. “I look forward to putting this distraction behind us so we can focus on other important issues in the coming weeks – like balancing the budget and ensuring the State lives within its means.”

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