Monday, May 01, 2006

Budget proposed

A Democratic budget proposal became available online Monday afternoon, meaning lawmakers could take a vote by the end of this week. It also means Democrats would be able to pass the budget before the Constitutional deadline of May 31 - without Republican votes.

Some of the governor’s spending programs made the cut:
- $10 million for class size reduction (see ”Crowded classrooms” in Illinois Issues May edition).
- $1.5 million for nursing schools to increase the number of graduating nurses, as well as $1.3 million for nurses to become faculty
- $500,000 in scholarships for forensic science students to graduate and perform DNA testing for the Illinois State Police
- $1 million for a pilot program to increase access to broadband Internet services in rural areas and another $5 million to develop infrastructure for high-speed Internet (see "The new digital divide” in Illinois Issues May edition).
- Watch for updates on the governor’s idea to offer a $90-million tuition tax credit for college students who earn good grades, as well as his $45-million proposal to offer universal preschool.

Lawmakers will debate the budget Tuesday. Stay tuned for how lawmakers expect to pay for the new programs.

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