Budget stalemate continues, delaying paychecks

July 15, 2009 7:39:32 AM PDT
Thousands of state employees will not get paid Wednesday because there is still no budget deal.The special session resumes Wednesday, and some legislators say they're hopeful they'll get an agreement. Nevertheless, that may not come soon enough for workers waiting to get paid. As House Speaker Michael Madigan convened the special session a few minutes past 2:00 p.m. this afternoon, the state was running out of money to pay its employees.

Later, the Senate's top Republican said the payroll account was dry.

"Obviously everyone is very interested in making sure that state government keeps going. Checks at a minimum will be late, but they are interested in getting this solved and making sure state government keeps operating," Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno said.

Two weeks after the legal deadline to adopt a budget, the House, Senate and governor still struggle with how to resolve the state's $9 billion deficit, with or without an income tax increase. As the legislative leaders and the governor held two meetings during the day, pressure built as State Comptroller Dan Hynes wrote, "Because there is no appropriation authority or court order today, employees who were due to be paid on Wednesday will not be paid tomorrow."

"I think there's a great sense of urgency and we want to get this done tomorrow, and be back first thing, and hopefully vote on something late afternoon," House Minority Leader Tom Cross said.

There were no votes today because both the House and Senate recessed after no more than a half-hour in special session. Instead, Speaker Madigan and the other leaders spent most of their time in meetings with the governor, where Madigan claimed there'd been progress on a budget agreement.

"We sure hope so because we know you're getting tired of coming down here," Madigan said.

Meanwhile, dozens of members in both chambers wanted the sessions cut short today so they could attend the Major League Baseball All Star Game 100 miles south in St. Louis.

No more work on the budget will be done until Wednesday morning, when the leaders return to the governor's office for yet another meeting. Then the House and Senate reconvene in the afternoon, when they might pass a budget. State worker paychecks could be delivered, then, no sooner than Thursday.


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