Amanda Vinicky

217-206-6019

Read Amanda's "Leadership" blog.

Amanda Vinicky has covered Illinois politics and government for WUIS and the Illinois Public Radio network since 2006.  Highlights include reporting on the historic impeachment and removal from office of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, winning a national award for her coverage of Illinois' electric rate fight as a result of deregulation, and following Illinois' delegations to the Democratic and Republican national political conventions in '08 and '12.  

Though she's full-time with WUIS now, she previously interned with the station in graduate school; she graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program in '05.  She also holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

Amanda is insatiably curious, so please reach out to her and get in touch if you notice something interesting going on at the Capitol! She can be reached at (217) 206-6019 or (773) 217-0316. If she's not in the statehouse bureau, you can usually find Amanda tweeting, dining at a local restaurant, taking a jog around Springfield or Chicago or practicing yoga. 

Thirty-eight days into his term as Illinois' governor, Bruce Rauner yesterday delivered his much-anticipated budget address. Amanda Vinicky recaps the financial reckoning.

Just how Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to deal with Illinois' budget and its deficit largely remains a mystery. Rauner is set to finally unveil his ideas Wednesday, when he gives his budget address. However, the legislature's leaders got a preview the day before.

House Speaker Michael Madigan walked out the large, glass doors of the governor's antechamber, with this to say about his meeting with Rauner:

"The governor simply said that he's got some tough medicine to deliver."

Next week, Gov. Bruce Rauner will unveil his spending proposal. The non-partisan Civic Federation has some suggestions.

The Civic Federation’s Director, Laurence Msall, says Illinois’ budget isn’t just in bad shape; its condition is terrible ... and climbing out of it won’t be easy.

“These are not politically attractive answers. There are financial, reality-based suggestions on how the state can stabilize its finances,” he says.

twitter.com/BruceRauner

Next week, Governor Bruce Rauner will introduce a new spending plan for Illinois. But that’s supposed to focus on the next fiscal year; he also has to worry about the current budget.

State agencies are supposed to be running out of money at the end of the fiscal year, in June. Today, there’s no more money for a subsidized day care program or to pay prison guards. The budget lawmakers passed last spring–when Rauner was still a candidate–was intentionally incomplete.

WUIS

Funding for everything from state-subsidized daycare to court reporters' salaries is running out in Illinois. At the same time, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed on a top aide for a contract worth $30,000 per month.

Donna Arduin may not be a household name in Illinois yet, but as Rauner's Chief Financial Officer, she may become one.

Arduin has been contracted to "provide advice to the governor" on how to deal with Illinois' pending fiscal challenges. For that, she -- or more specifically, her consulting firm -- will be paid $120,000 for four months of work.

State employees can rest assured-- Gov. Bruce Rauner does not want to cut their salaries. But a memo sent to state legislators Monday warns of other changes the governor would like to see.

Shortly after becoming governor, Rauner tried to spread goodwill, reaching out to workers with visits to state offices.

"I want to make Illinois a wonderful place to work for everyone here. I want good, fair compensation."

Then came a series of speeches, previewing his State of the State address on Wednesday, in which he says Illinois' payroll is bloated.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The future of a state-subsidized day care program is in limbo.

The budget passed by the last class of lawmakers and signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn cut it by millions of dollars.  That means money for it has run out.

While that's not expected to be an immediate problem, some say daycare providers could begin cutting off services as soon as later this month if payments are delayed. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner late last week blamed his predecessor for creating the high-pressure situation.

WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner nears the top of a national list of last year's biggest campaign contributors. 

The Center for Public Integrity gathered data on political giving to state races. It used that information to crown "sugar daddies of state politics."

Rauner and his wife, Diana, came in seventh. That's just counting the money Rauner put into his campaign committee before Election Day.

WUIS

It has been about two years since 26 people, most of them young children, died in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

A report studying him was released late last year by Connecticut's child advocate office. It shows problems identifying and treating his mental illness.

"There were several missed opportunities to help Lanza," said Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan on the opening day of the new General Assembly.

The fate of Illinois' pension law will stay on the fast track. Illinois' Supreme Court justices today rejected a request for a delay.

It can take a long time for a case to wend its way through the courts. But after a Sangamon County judge in November ruled Illinois' overhaul of public worker pensions unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court agreed to take up the case on an expedited basis.

On Tuesday, lawyers contesting the law tried to slow it down by a month.

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