state of Illinois

Illinois nears the end of August, and there's still no state budget in place. But House members will return to Springfield today.

The Illinois House controls the fate of a measure that's not a budget bill, per say, but which Gov. Bruce Rauner says could have major financial ramifications for the state.

It'd prevent his ability to lock out state workers -- something he's said he won't do -- as well as forbid employees from striking. Instead, an arbitrator would settle an impasse if Rauner and the AFSCME union can't agree to a new contract.

The top Democrat in the Illinois state senate says Governor Bruce Rauner’s latest all-in-one proposal won’t pass.

Governor Rauner wants Democrats to at least hold a vote on his package of policy ideas, which limit collective bargaining and workers compensation:

So he’s put all those ideas in one bill.

But Democratic Senate President John Cullerton says Rauner needs to be practical.

“There’s Republicans who don’t want to vote for those collective bargaining provisions in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “We’ve got two senators who are in union!”

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The Illinois House could vote next week on a measure to keep last year’s eligibility guidelines for child care assistance. 

State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Democrat from Peoria, says she plans to call the measure that challenges Governor Bruce Rauner’s move last month to restrict the program. 

“It will undo the rules that Governor Rauner put into place on July 1, which would essentially cut out 90-percent of the current eligible people who are looking to get childcare,” Gordon-Booth said.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says Democrats’ questions about running an unbalanced budget are “side issues.”

There have been several lawsuits against state government because there’s no budget. Those lawsuits prompted Rauner’s administration to spend a set amount of money for core services.

Democrats like State Representative John Bradley want to know if the state’s spending more than it’s taking in.

"I think it’s a very, very bad calculation," he said.


Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner touted his “business friendly” policies at the annual Black Chamber of Commerce conference in East Peoria Thursday. But some state politicians say those policies hurt minorities in the workforce.

Rauner’s message to the packed conference room was that social programs, prevailing wage and taxes need to be cut in order for minority-run businesses to thrive in Illinois.  

“African American business owners are leaving just like other business owners are leaving, going to Indiana, where there’s a better business climate,” Rauner said.

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

Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says he wants to know how much spending is being dictated by court orders during the budget impasse.

For six weeks, there’s been no state budget. But there have been lawsuits to get the state to fund many services, like foster care and Medicaid.

Attorneys for Republican Governor Bruce Rauner say the orders interfere with their ability to manage government.

But Democratic Speaker Madigan says the governor’s complaining about court orders Rauner himself greenlit.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

More than five billion dollars in federal funds may soon be on its way to social service agencies, despite Illinois still having no budget in place.

But it didn't happen without a political fight.

Representatives from both sides of the aisle joined together to release the federal money, but a slimmed-down version from what House Democrats wanted. They'd tried to also lump in $585 million of state money -- money they say Illinois has to pitch in, or it will lose out on more federal funding. 


State employees have begun receiving pink slips, as a budget impasse looms -- a total of 171 workers will lose their jobs. Workers have gotten notice that they'll be out of work by the end of September.

Those impacted are at the state's economic development and emergency management agencies, the commerce commission and the department of transportation. That also includes more than one hundred Dept. of Natural Resources employees.

The move comes as Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to close the Illinois State Museum and a shooting complex in Sparta.

Brian Mackey / WUIS

Non-profit groups say the ongoing fight over the state budget could lead to tragic consequences for thousands of Illinoisans.

The agencies have state contracts for everything from taking care of people with disabilities to placing children in foster care. But the partisan fight over state spending means they're not being paid.

Al Riddley, on the board of the Illinois Partners for Human Service, says the groups are being led on a "death march."

"Perhaps it's time to change our state motto from 'Land of Lincoln' to 'We Don't Care,'" Riddley says.

Amanda Vinicky

The governor and Democratic legislators yesterday came to a budget agreement, but only a minor one. A broader stalemate continues.

Anything to do with state spending this year has pretty much been split down party lines. Democrats passed a spending plan, Republican Gov. Bruce Raunervetoed almost all of it.

That's what has Illinois into its second month without a budget.

Then there was a thaw yesterday. Senators from both parties voted to spend $5 billion of federal money -- the state just serves as a pass through.