Illinois universities brace for more state budget cuts

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner once again is calling for deep cuts in state funding for higher education, showing how tempting a target the universities continue to be for a state desperate to get its budget under control. The Republican proposed a trim of 20 percent for the 2016-2017 fiscal year in his budget blueprint this month. The state’s public universities have been without state funding since summer. A closer look shows that they are feeling real pain: Both Western Illinois and Eastern Illinois are laying people off, and Chicago State University may have to do the same. State funding makes up less than half of the schools’ budgets, but often pays salaries. Rauner says he is an advocate of higher education but that the state can’t spend money it doesn’t have.