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Next week, Governor Bruce Rauner will introduce a new spending plan for Illinois. But that’s supposed to focus on the next fiscal year; he also has to worry about the current budget.

State agencies are supposed to be running out of money at the end of the fiscal year, in June. Today, there’s no more money for a subsidized day care program or to pay prison guards. The budget lawmakers passed last spring–when Rauner was still a candidate–was intentionally incomplete.

Illinois Legislature Forms Prayer Caucus

Feb 9, 2015
State of Illinois

Illinois has become the 15th state to form a Legislative Prayer Caucus, similar to one already in place in Congress.  Its members will work on issues of religious freedom.  

Republican Senator Sam McCann of Carlinville says he heard from voters who wanted it.

“It was really due to the diligence of the constituents of the people. It didn't start with either congress or me or the statehouse it started because the constituents of the people were engaged.”

WUIS

A company proposing to run power lines through Illinois wants to be declared a utility. 

Clean Line Energy Partners wants to build transmission lines to carry wind energy from the plains states to Illinois. If they are granted utility status, they would have a shot at eminent domain powers along the route of the so called "Grain Belt Express" in west central and southern Illinois. 

The company's Mark Lawler says they'd prefer to acquire the land in negotiations, but eminent domain helps with the planning:

WUIS

Funding for everything from state-subsidized daycare to court reporters' salaries is running out in Illinois. At the same time, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed on a top aide for a contract worth $30,000 per month.

Donna Arduin may not be a household name in Illinois yet, but as Rauner's Chief Financial Officer, she may become one.

Arduin has been contracted to "provide advice to the governor" on how to deal with Illinois' pending fiscal challenges. For that, she -- or more specifically, her consulting firm -- will be paid $120,000 for four months of work.

childcarecenter.us

Illinois' program that provides subsidized daycare for low-income families is out of cash. A Senate committee attempted to address the issue Thursday.

Chandra Ankoor is a 24-year-old single mother from Springfield. While she is working, she sends her three daughters to child care that is partially paid for with the help of the state.

If it weren't for this assistance, Ankoor says it would cost her every dollar she makes, and then some, to afford the cost of child care.

Flickr user E Photos / "IMG_1927 - Power Lines" (CC v 2.0)

The Illinois coal industry is not happy with the federal government’s decision to stop funding a clean-coal project in Illinois. 

President Barack Obama's administration pulled the plug on the FutureGen 2.0 "clean-coal" power plant, which was slated to be built in central Illinois. 

durbin.senate.gov

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says the budget proposed by President Barack Obama maintains funding for two national laboratories in Illinois. 

The spending plan includes more than $5 billion for the Energy Department’s Office of Science. That's the primary funding source for the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont and Fermilab in Batavia.

Argonne is one of the Energy Department's largest research centers, spanning fields including high-energy physics, climatology and biotechnology. Fermilab is a leading center of high-energy physics research.

Rauner: Illinois Needs To Be More Competitive

Feb 4, 2015

Some of the big ideas Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner outlined in first his State of the State Address aren’t likely to get very far.

Rauner acknowledged up front that voters elected him - a Republican - and supermajority of Democrats in the legislature.

"They don’t want partisan bickering, political infightin', or personal conflict to get in the way of servin' the needs of the families of Illinois," Rauner said.

Rauner spoke of inequities in granting contracts to minority-owned companies, and prison conditions that he called “unacceptable.”

U Of I Flash Index Rose .4 Since Last Month

Feb 3, 2015
Institute of Government and Public Affairs, U of I

The Illinois economy is at its highest level in nearly a year. 

The U of I’s Flash Index measured 106.8 in January, up four-tenths of a point from the month before.

The Index rose to 107 last winter. But since then, economist Fred Giertz says the state’s economy measured in the 106 range.

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The future of a state-subsidized day care program is in limbo.

The budget passed by the last class of lawmakers and signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn cut it by millions of dollars.  That means money for it has run out.

While that's not expected to be an immediate problem, some say daycare providers could begin cutting off services as soon as later this month if payments are delayed. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner late last week blamed his predecessor for creating the high-pressure situation.

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