Illinois budget

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The Illinois Legislature today passed pieces of a stopgap budget deal between the governor and top legislative leaders to keep the state running and fund schools in the fiscal year that begins Friday.  The bills now head to the desk of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature.

The deal includes money to fund state services, colleges, prisons and road construction for the next six months. It also provides a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education, including money for financially struggling Chicago Public Schools. 

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner painted a bleak picture Monday morning of what could happen if a state budget is not passed before Friday.

But he gave some hope that a solution could be reached when the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield on Wednesday for the first time since the spring legislative session ended in May.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has begun informing contractors that all IDOT projects will begin shutting down starting June 30 if no state budget agreement is reached.

A statement attributed to IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says the move is "due to the majority party in the legislature’s failure to pass a balanced budget."

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Lawmakers only have two days to pass a budget before a pending deadline.  But even as top leaders came out of a meeting Sunday saying that a deal is “possible,” it was clear the chances are woefully slim.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has danced around it before. But this time, he didn't flinch. He says if it gets to his desk, he will reject in its entirety the only spending plan currently alive in the statehouse: a plan House Democrats approved last week.

"That's the bill that has a $7 billion implied deficit in it,” he said. “I will veto that bill."

Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio

Union members flooded streets in front of the Illinois Statehouse to protest Gov. Bruce Rauner's agenda and what they say are his anti-labor policies.

Union workers marched to the Capitol for a rally, where they were joined briefly by a pair of prominent Democrats: House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

There was a time, in recent memory, that the labor movement wasn't all too fond of Madigan. Though he's a Democrat, he helped pass bills cutting government-worker pension benefits, and he's backed corporate tax breaks.

Illinois Times

Illinois is racking up more debt than even its comptroller knows about. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of bills are awaiting payment. They're part of a little-known program that has lawmakers asking questions.

Documents obtained by Illinois Public Radio show that, since November, the state owes businesses in the Vendor Support Initiative program more than $600 million. That doesn't include the 1 percent interest fee applied per month to bills over 90 days old under the Prompt Payment Act.

Homeless Youth Protest Lack Of State Funds

Apr 6, 2016

About 50 Illinois homeless youth and service providers essentially ambushed Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday. Their goal was to bring attention to a lack of state funding for job training, counseling and affordable housing.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois's overdue bills are 16 percent higher than previously reported. They could top ten billion dollars by end of the fiscal year.

   

 

Make Room and WNIJ News

More than one fourth of 736,000 renters in Illinois’ ten largest cities spend more than half their income for housing.

Some 207,000 renters -- or 28 percent -- spend more than half their household income on rent and utilities, a level which housing experts consider a “severe” burden. Statewide, 27 percent -- or 439,958 households -- pay unaffordable rent.

Among northern Illinois cities, the highest rate of severely burdened renters is in Rockford, with more than 28 percent --  8,600 of the estimated 30,400 renters in the third-largest city.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Just days after vetoing a measure to help low-income college students, Gov. Bruce Rauner signaled he's open to another way to make it happen.

Rauner's reason for rejecting the Democrats' funding plan was that it would have sent Illinois deeper into debt.

But Rauner, a Republican, has said he'd be OK with an alternate GOP approach -- because it's paired with money to back it up. He says, however, that he will approve money for what are known as MAP grants (via the Monetary Award Program) if lawmakers loosen the rules under which government and universities make purchases.

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