Student loan bill is great in theory, Ugaste argues, except for the fact that Illinois is beyond broke
Dan Ugaste insists that the time has come for lawmakers in Springfield to face the truth about Illinois' finances.
“We can’t keep passing bills just because we like what they represent,” Ugaste, the newly elected Republican state representative in the 65th District – whose campaign was partly based on a platform of fiscal responsibility – told the Kane County Reporter. “We’re already trying to fix our infrastructure with a capital bill we don’t have the money for.”
Ugaste points to House Bill 2685 as the latest would-be massive expenditure he thinks the state would be irresponsible to absorb. Sponsored by state treasurer Michael Frerichs, HB 2685 would set aside as much as $600 million in state revenues for as many as 50,000 students now struggling with the rising costs of higher education.
Earlier this month, the measure took a huge step forward, easily passing the House by a 67-33 vote with as many as 15 Democratic House members co-sponsoring the bill that now sits in the Senate Assignments Committee. Adding to Ugaste’s trepidation, Crain’s Chicago Business reports that funds for the program would be pulled from the same monies the state has earmarked to pay down the billions it owes in unpaid vendor debt.
“In theory, it’s a wonderful idea but the reality remains the state is broke and no one has specifically identified where revenue for the program would come from,” Ugaste said. “I can’t think of a person out there that wouldn’t love to help out college kids, but this state simply can’t afford it.”
In touting the bill, Frerichs vows that it will generate greater returns for the state than the average 2 to 3 percent netted from most current short-term investments.