budget

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Illinois’ top politicians are divided on how to end their feud over passing a full budget. 

Republicans are holding out for Governor Bruce Rauner’s agenda.  It includes changes to workers compensation and imposes term limits on lawmakers.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says Republicans will be happy to talk about balancing the budget if these measures are implemented. 

Winnebago County’s Finance Committee failed to agree on a balanced budget Tuesday.  

The county has a deficit of more than $7 million. Officials say this is due to increased employee salaries, as well as funds paid out by arbitration.  They say one example is that since police aren't allowed to strike, an arbitration court decides the amount awarded in the case of an impasse.  

A police group says the lack of a state budget is making Illinois a more dangerous place to live.

Rauner touted proposals that would begin to inch toward his goal of reducing Illinois’ prison population by 25 percent over the next decade. But elsewhere in the Capitol, law enforcement officials warned that the lack of a state budget means crime prevention programs are shutting down.

“I am upset at the governor," Tom Weitzel, the police chief in Riverside, said.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Students at Rockford’s Guilford High School showed off their latest high-tech projects to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner today.

Rauner stopped by the school to talk about education funding and to check out their innovative engineering-track programs. He pledged to increase K through 12 funding and reduce state mandates on schools.

The Republican governor also clued the students in on the partisan battles that were blocking progress on a state budget.

State of Illinois

Most school districts in Illinois would get an increase in state aid if a budget request approved Wednesday by the State Board of Education is adopted.

Only the wealthiest districts would see a decrease, and it would be less than 1 percent. 

State funding for public schools has remained stagnant or decreased for the past five years. Districts with low property values have no way to supplement that aid, leaving Illinois with one of the most inequitable funding scenarios in the nation.

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