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Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's information technology chief has contracted to spend $208,000 in tax dollars for two professional memberships despite the budget crisis.

Hardik Bhatt is Republican Rauner's $145,000-a-year secretary of the Department of Innovation and Technology. He has a $50,000 membership and $29,000 subscription to councils within the Virginia-based executive-assistance firm CEB Inc.

Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza has held up some payments but the state is obligated to pay.

State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are returning to the Capitol this week to resume work on trying to end the budget stalemate that has eluded them for almost two years.

The State Journal-Register reports that, just before lawmakers' two-week spring break, the House approved another stopgap spending bill that would give more than $800 million to human-services programs and higher education.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The average Illinois price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.49. That's one cent more expensive than last week. 

AAA reports the most expensive gas is found in the City of Chicago, at $2.84 per gallon. In contrast, Decatur has the state's cheapest gas, at $2.21 per gallon.

Rockford's average price is $2.36 per gallon. That's three cents cheaper than last week's average. 

Diane Drake / WNIJ

About 100 Northern Illinois University students, faculty, and staff will have the chance to give direct feedback on their President.

The move is part of what President Doug Baker calls a “360-degree review” of his performance.  He's evaluated annually by the Board of Trustees but, this year, both Baker and university officials want more detailed feedback.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Some groups are bracing for the problems of a future Illinois state budget that doesn’t raise taxes high enough or cuts spending.

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