Illinois budget

Just over two weeks remain in the Illinois General Assembly’s spring legislative session. Lawmakers haven’t passed a full budget in more than two years.

And there are serious doubts about whether they’ll extend or break the streak before the session is scheduled to end May 31.

That would mean Democrats satisfying Gov. Bruce Rauner’s business and political agenda and Republicans agreeing on a series of tax hikes to begin stabilizing state finances.

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.

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