"This is another important step to putting an end to business as usual and stopping the reckless spending policies of the past," - State Senator Dan Kotowski
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Nearly two years after Illinois Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) ended his participation in the much-scrutinized legislative scholarship program, the General Assembly is finally following his lead, as well as the nearly-80 other legislators who have already opted to end the program.
House Bill 3810 today passed out of the Illinois Senate today and now heads to the Illinois House where it will be given further consideration. The measure abolishes the program and sets up a task force to review and evaluate tuition waiver programs offered by state universities.
"This is another important step to putting an end to business as usual and stopping the reckless spending policies of the past," Senator Kotowski said. "I took steps to end this program two years ago. It's a welcome sight to see that the General Assembly is following my lead ending this abused program."
Current law allows state senators and representatives to award free tuition at Illinois' public universities for up to eight students from their district each year. The public universities they attend are forced to absorb the cost of their tuition, and this expense can get passed on to other students in the form of tuition increases.
Several media stories have highlighted abuses of the tuition waiver program. According to the reports, some legislators have given scholarships to family members and children of campaign donors. Prior to leaving the program two years ago, Kotowski had an independent committee select the recipients of the tuition waivers based on their qualifications and need.
Kotowski, who spearheaded legislation through the Senate to cut legislators' pay earlier this year, also called on members of the Illinois House to take up his cost-saving proposal during the next four weeks - saving taxpayers' an additional $1 million.
"We must work to restore faith in government by doing more with less and forcing state government to live within its means. I hope the House will realize that both of these bills accomplish that goal and take swift action to enact them," Kotowski added.