District 53 GOP candidate says lawmakers should stay focused on what matters
House hopeful Katie Miller said higher education finances should not be the focus of lawmaker debates.
Responding to the failure of HB2394, a proposed bill sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) that would have offered financial assistance at public universities to undocumented students, Miller, a Republican seeking seat held by retiring Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), told the North Cook News earlier this month.
“I don’t believe HB2394 addresses the real problems we have with the cost of higher education in Illinois,” Miller said. “We seem to want to treat the symptom and not the actual disease. I believe the cost of in-state tuition in Illinois is too high regardless of the impact of allowing non-citizens the same tuition rates.”
The candidate for the 53rd House District seat, which covers Prospect Heights, Mt. Prospect and Arlington Heights, said Illinois does not charge non-citizens more for a gallon of milk at a store, so why are legislators concerned with charging them more for taking a higher education class when they should be looking at the bottom-line cost.
“Currently, Illinois is the fourth highest in the nation for in-state tuition, at $14,062, when the national average is $9,650,” Miller said. “Let’s start working on decreasing the cost of unnecessary university bureaucracies, bloated administrations and every other cost that goes into the unacceptable price tag of $14,062, then we can sit down and talk about in-state tuition rates for non-citizens.”
She said the bill was a bust because people are sick of identity politics and talking about non-priority issues.
“We need to focus on why tuition in our state is higher than the national average,” Miller said. “The state of Illinois is facing financial abyss and others want to concentrate on college class rates for non-citizens.”
Keeping it fair and focused is how a future education bill should be crafted, according to the candidate, adding until then lawmakers need to keep their eyes on what really matters.
“When the new version (of the bill) is presented, I sincerely hope the leaders of this state have already fixed the more pressing issues facing the people of Illinois such as our pension liability, balancing the state budget, enacting a Taxpayers Bill of Rights and decreasing tax liability for Illinois taxpayers." Miller said.
HB2394 failed in the House on a 57-40 vote.