Illinois budget

State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are returning to the Capitol this week to resume work on trying to end the budget stalemate that has eluded them for almost two years.

The State Journal-Register reports that, just before lawmakers' two-week spring break, the House approved another stopgap spending bill that would give more than $800 million to human-services programs and higher education.

"Dentist" by Flickr User Travis Wise / (CC X 2.0)

With no budget, Illinois has racked up a $12 billion tab in unpaid bills and that number is growing. Among those still waiting for their checks: Dentists.

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says the money he’s waiting for is up to $170,000. How far behind is Illinois in paying Lynch?

“We are approximately at November of 2015," Lynch said.

That means a state worker went to see Lynch just after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, and Lynch has only recently gotten paid for it.

State of Illinois

The Senate adjourned abruptly early Wednesday evening after Democrats and Republicans held private caucus meetings that lasted more than three hours.

 

A spokesman for Democratic Senate President John Cullerton issued a statement saying Senate leaders continue to discuss the massive compromise plan, and the Senate will return to session today.

Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography / "Fizzy Purple Grape Soda" (CC v. 2.0)

Part of a potential compromise at the statehouse would make Illinois the first state with a tax on sugary drinks, like soda.

It’s among new legislation that’s meant to end the budget stalemate and bring in more tax dollars.

Just a few cities in the U.S., and Cook County have such a tax on the books. In past debates, opponents said a soda tax means a nanny state where the government tells people what’s bad for them.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

Illinois Senate leaders are hoping to move swiftly on their pledge to advance a state-budget compromise by month's end.

The Democratic-controlled chamber has assigned 13 pieces of legislation for committee hearings that aim to break the two-year budget deadlock between legislative Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The proposals include an income tax increase and a hike in the minimum wage, but also attempt to satisfy Rauner's pro-business agenda with a property-tax freeze and restrictions on workers' compensation awards.

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