State of Illinois operating without a budget

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The State of Illinois is operating without a budget, a one-month spending plan failed to pass the House, and now, legislators are on holiday. (WLS)

The State of Illinois is operating without a budget, a one-month spending plan failed to pass the House, and legislators are on holiday.

Democrats and Gov. Bruce Rauner were unable to agree on the full 2016 budget before the state began its new fiscal year on July 1.

"Obviously I'm disappointed and frustrated with the General Assembly. We could and should resolve these issues on a prompt basis. This has been dragging for a while," GOP Rauner said.

"Let's get to work on the No. 1 problem facing the state of Illinois: the budget deficit. Let's not function in the extreme. Let's function in moderation. Let's make sure that everybody is reasonable with all of this," said State Rep. Mike Madigan, D-Illinois House Speaker.

At a cost of $2.3 billion, the Democrats' were pushing a one-month plan would have kept some "essential" services, including Medicaid Illinois State Police protection, elderly meals and veterans home, going while the budget battle continues.

The measure was approved by the Illinois Senate, 37-0 & 11 "present" votes, but failed in the Illinois House, 67-1-32. Rauner, who calls the plan "unconstitutional," had said he would have vetoed it had it passed. Rauner used his veto power earlier Wednesday morning to keep lawmakers from receiving their annual 2-percent cost of living raises.

The spending plan bill would have needed a three-fifth vote to pass.

How long can the state operate without a budget or temporary spending plan?

"I think it's going to go on for a while," Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, (R), said. Months? "That's not outside the realm of possibility."

"It's chaos across the line and giving stability of a one-month budget to give us time to work with the governor seems the only sensible, common sensible thing to do," State Representative Flynn Currie, (D), said.

The House ended its session on Wednesday and legislators left to begin the Fourth of July holiday weekend. They won't be back until next Tuesday, leaving the state without a budget for at least the next six days.

WHERE RAUNER, DEMS DIFFER


In June, state lawmakers sent an unbalanced budget of $36 billion to Rauner. He vetoed most of the plan, saying he wants changes in business and political practices - like lawmaker term limits and a property tax freeze- before going along with raising revenue.

Rauner did, however, approve of adding another $74 million to K-12 and early childhood education, which brings the education funding to $344 million.

Those who work with some of the state's most vulnerable residents say Rauner's budget plan would cut funding for education, Medicaid, childcare and hospitals.

Tim Egan, CEO of Roseland Hospital in Chicago, said without a budget in place, hospitals across Illinois that receive state funds may have to lay off staff, reducing their ability to care for patients. He said the need is particularly urgent in hospitals like his, where emergency physicians frequently treat victims of Chicago violence.

"We have a moral obligation," he said. "I assure you people will die without a budget agreement."

In Chicago, hundreds of people who are facing layoffs due to cuts in state funding rallied. Monica Sanchez said she doesn't know if she still has a job at Empresarias del Futuro, an educational training program to help women in small business run through Mujeres Latinas en Accion.

"We don't know. We don't know. We have a meeting at 4 p.m. today, and we are going to know what happens then," Sanchez said.
BUSINESS AS USUAL IN ILLINOIS?

On Wednesday, the governor borrowed $454 million from special state funds to manage Illinois' cash flow and avoid late penalty payments. While state business continued and public parks and driver's license facilities remain open, it isn't clear if workers will receive complete paychecks on their next pay day.

Illinois State Police continue to patrol.

However, the Illinois Department of Human Services is reducing Child Care Assistance Program benefits in light of limited funding projected for the next fiscal year. The department said the changes, which take effect Wednesday, had to be made in order to continue providing assistance in the future. IDHS outlined those changes HERE.

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