Senators get earful on budget woes at SIUC gathering
Two state senators heard what’s on everyone’s mind at a town hall meeting on Thursday: the state budget.
Sens. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) and Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) took questions from the community during the event on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) campus. Many were concerned about what the state’s dire financial straits could mean to the university.
"If the university pares back its operation, the city of Carbondale withers away,” Schimpf said. “The city needs a strong university, and the entire region needs a strong university here."
Both senators assumed office in January, giving them fresh eyes on issues that have left Illinois without a full-year budget for 21 months. With budget negotiations stalled when the General Assembly went on break recently, SIUC community members asked the lawmakers if they would support another stopgap budget if necessary.
While Schimpf said he would if he had to, Fowler was more reluctant.
"As far as a stopgap, I'm going to have to take a good strong look at it,” Fowler said. “I'm not for a Band-Aid. I want a good strong balanced budget, so our universities and our schools and our social services can have the money they deserve."