SPRINGFIELD — Fifty-percent tuition waivers now offered to university employees and their dependents would be immediately repealed under a bill approved by the House Executive Committee Wednesday.
The legislation, HB 5531, (an earlier version of this story had the wrong bill number) was approved 9-2 with the only opposition coming from Reps. Dan Brady and Mike Bost, who represent downstate university districts. It now moves to the House floor.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, promised to amend the legislation on the House floor, but only after the committee reviews the proposed amendment.
One possibility, he said, would be to treat the waivers as part of a compensation package and to tax them. Another option would be to cap the number of employees eligible for the scholarships. A third would be to phase out the waivers over time.
"This state is on the brink of bankruptcy," said Rep. Joseph Lyons, D-Chicago. "I don't think there are any sacred cows that we cannot consider."
Arroyo said he promoted the bill because "tuition rates keep going up because we are paying to educate the children of other state employees."
More in Thursday's News-Gazette.