Democrats Suspend Effort To Ensure State-Employee Paychecks

Feb 9, 2017

The attempt by Illinois House Democrats to make sure state workers can be paid without a budget was suspended Thursday in the face of opposition from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

A court order has kept paychecks flowing since July 2015, but Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a judge to review that decision.

Rauner says he wants workers to be paid, but he came out hard against the Democratic plan, which would assure their paychecks only through June 30.

The governor even released a video saying how terrible it was that Democrats put an end date on their bill. “It’s not a solution,” he said. “It’s a crisis showdown set for June 30th."

State Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) says Rauner is talking out of both sides of his mouth. “In one breath, you say ‘I support state workers, I want to put state workers back to work,’” she said of the governor, “and then we give him a bill that provides that opportunity and he shuts it down."

Rauner prefers a Republican bill that would pay state workers forever — even if he and Democrats never agree on a budget.

Scherer said she can’t understand why the governor and House Republicans are opposed to the Democrats’ plan.

“It’s following the Constitution,” she said. “It’s appropriating money the way we’re supposed to do it."

Supporters of Lisa Madigan’s move hope that stopping state employees’ pay – which probably would force a strike -- might be just the push Rauner and Democrats need to finally pass a budget.