Politics

Political news

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

At least a dozen Republicans are chasing the party's presidential nomination. But which of them will get a boost from Illinois' new, and privately wealthy, Republican governor?

During his campaign for the governor's mansion, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner kept bringing one well-known Republican in for help: New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie.

Here's Christie a year ago, stumping for Rauner in Springfield:

"Well, I'm thrilled to be back in Illinois,” Christie said. “I'm going to be back a number of times over the course of the next 55 days."

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

A recent analysis found that both the budget proposal from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the one approved by Democratic lawmakers would leave the state with a more than $9 billion deficit. 

Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, says that neither plan takes into account the shortfall from last fiscal year. 

"The budget deficit carry forward from 2015 into 2016 is going to be $5.9 billion,” Martire said. “That will appear nowhere on state financial records. They won't have a balanced budget. Let's just be honest."

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin provided a fairly blunt reply to the proposition that the War on Drugs failed.

“By some measure, it has failed,” said Durbin, D-Ill. “If the measure is the cost of drugs on the street, it has failed. But when we look at the individual lives saved, there are certainly heroic great stories to be told. But we have to be honest about what works and what doesn’t.”

Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin may ban research on aborted fetal tissue. A bill moving through the legislature would outlaw selling, donating, and experimenting with fetal body parts in Wisconsin. Republican lawmakers behind the measure say it wouldn’t affect current research using existing cell lines.

  The Wisconsin Assembly’s criminal justice committee held a hearing Tuesday: supporters say they hope to have the votes lined up to pass the ban as early as next month.

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar has some advice for the man currently in the job – fellow Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Edgar says it might be time for Rauner to blink.

After more than five weeks working without a budget, Illinois leaders don't seem close to compromise. The two main players -- Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan -- both say they could work together to pass a budget, but …

Rauner says he won't compromise his five pro-business initiatives in his "Turnaround Agenda." Madigan, on the other hand, calls Rauner's positions "extreme."

WUIS

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.

Christopher Voss

Here's another way to think of the budget standoff: a prison siege.

Christopher Voss is familiar with this scenario, having been a chief negotiator for the FBI. He says inmate rebellions offer lessons for sparring politicians.

"Behind each leader are groups of unruly inmates that are trying to decide who they're going to follow," Voss says.

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.

Senate Passes Property Tax Freeze, School Funding Redo

Aug 5, 2015
Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Local property taxes would be frozen for two years under a measure approved Tuesday by the Illinois Senate. That's on Gov. Bruce Rauner's wish-list, but Republicans are still against the plan.

After a failed attempt last month, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton shepherded his proposal through.

How much money local governments could ask taxpayers for would be stuck for a couple years -- something Rauner, a Republican, insists happen before he'll negotiate with Democrats on the budget.

Cullerton characterizes the effort as a sort of olive branch.

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.

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