Statehouse

Fiscal year 2016 is upon us and Illinois still doesn’t have a budget.  Will Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ever reach an agreement with legislative Democrats?  How quickly will state government grind to a halt?  And who will take the blame?  WBEZ public radio reporter Tony Arnold joins the panel to talk about that and more.

Lisa Madigan at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

 A stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget has taken a new political turn. It comes as the Attorney General is asking a court to determine what bills Illinois can pay when the state has no spending authority.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has been feuding with Democrats, especially Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan. Now Rauner's taking aim at the Speaker's daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

A temporary budget to keep Illinois government operating in a new fiscal year has failed in the House, but one is still alive because the Senate OK'd an identical measure.  

Democrats battling with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner put up a $2.3 billion, one-month spending plan Wednesday for the state to limp along during the impasse. It fell four votes short of the 71 needed for approval. 

Illinois Issues: The Next Pension Time Bomb

Jul 2, 2015

Illinois has more than $100 billion in pension debt. So far, attempts to fix it have been mostly illegal.

flickr/dborman

Doctors who care for patients on Medicaid, drug treatment counselors, and probation officers could all go without pay because Illinois is without a new budget. But elected officials will keep getting their paychecks.

Without a budget, Illinois loses its spending authority -- much of it anyway. Some spending is built in by law, automatic: like paying off debt, sending municipalities their cut of the income tax, and lawmakers' pay.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget director says a one-month spending plan proposed by Democrats is ``unconstitutional'' because it would lead to an unbalanced budget. 

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Even if Illinois lawmakers and the governor can't reach a budget deal by Wednesday, state employees have another two weeks before they really need to worry about being paid. That's when their first paychecks of the new fiscal year are set to be issued.  But there's confusion over whether they'll get money after that point, or not.

An email sent by Gov. Rauner takes a reassuring tone.

"State employees will be paid for their work --- and I will do everything within my power to ensure you don’t miss a single payroll," he writes.

But will the money come through?

It's the budget deadline day in Illinois. If a meeting yesterday between Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders is any indication, they're not going to make it.

It's seemingly been weeks since Rauner, a Republican, meet with all four of the legislative leaders. Since what's believed to have been the last time they were all together, the governor began airing ads that attack Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. The state has also gotten a lot closer to a partial shutdown since then. They all got together yesterday.

Illinois State Capitol Dome in clouds
Brian Mackey / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Illinois legislators will return to Springfield Tuesday, leaving them one last day to get a budget deal in order. This year's spending plan expires at midnight on June 30. Not only is there no long-term agreement, there's no sign of a provisional one either.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

A number of recall petitions from people dissatisfied with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are circulating on social media platforms, but these efforts do not meet the legal requirements for recall in the state.

SEIU TV ad
SEIU Healthcare Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s political ads have had the airwaves to themselves for two weeks. But as of Monday they’re getting some competition.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois begins this week without a new budget --- though one is due by Wednesday. Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner revised his plan. He's now offering Chicago and other municipalities some pension relief.

Early on, Gov. Rauner made clear that his willingness to talk about the budget is contingent on what he calls "structural change."  Since the end of May, that has included five items:

1) a property tax freeze  (combined with changes he says will lower costs for municipalities but which unions see as an attack)

State Week: Countdown To (Fiscal) New Year

Jun 26, 2015
WUIS

The week began with a complete budget proposal — albeit billions out of balance — awaiting action by the governor. It ended with a near-total veto. Only money for pre-school, elementary and secondary education was spared the knife. But could that actually worsen the state bidget standoff?

WUIS/Lisa Ryan

Tuesday is "deadline day" for state government.  But one deadline is being given a month-long extension.

June 30th is the final day of the fiscal year; after which, the current budget expires. It's also the final day of the state's contract with its largest public employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Prisoner Review Board
Brian Mackey / WUIS

One of the longest-serving inmates in an Illinois prison was granted parole Thursday. Joseph Bigsby was a teenager in 1973 when he shot and killed a Chicago police officer.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois is without a spending plan, with less than a week until the new fiscal year begins. Democrats in the General Assembly approved one, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed nearly the whole thing Thursday.


Kevin Wong/flickr

Illinois schools will be able to open on time this fall, despite an ongoing budget stalemate at the statehouse.

Schools not having the money to operate had been a worry, given Gov. Bruce Rauner's condemnation of the spending plan passed by Democratic legislators.

It isn't anymore.

Rod Blagojevich mug shot
U.S. Government

Here we are, rapidly approaching the Fourth of July, and we are still talking about legislative battles, a governor picking a fight with the speaker, and Illinois heading toward a new fiscal year without a budget in place. Sound familiar?

WUIS

Legislators' return to Springfield Wednesday failed to result in real movement toward a state budget agreement, with just one week remaining before the state loses its spending authority.

To hear House Speaker Michael Madigan tell it, Democrats are trying.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has given five conditions that must be met before he'll consider a tax hike that could balance the budget. 

 Democrats are accusing Governor Bruce Rauner of "dodging" questions about how much his top staff are making. Just how much Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is costing taxpayers was supposed to be the subject of a hearing, called by House Revenue Chairman John Bradley.

But when he asked repeatedly "is there anyone from the governor's office here to testify?" there was silence.

No one from the governor's office showed. That's a breach of legislative decorum that's virtually unheard of.

The finished product uses shades of green, blue, rose and peach that match the marble throughout the Capitol.
Bethany Carson / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Illinois General Assembly doesn't typically meet during the summer. But legislators are back for another one-day session today.

A Springfield native is the subject of not one, but two, proposed House resolutions. Both seek to honor basketball star Andre Iguodala, who helped the Golden State Warriors win the championship title.

Sen. Dick Durbin
Hannah Meisel / WUIS

With Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic legislative leaders unable to agree on a spending plan for Illinois, the odds of a government shutdown are increasing. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says that sort of crisis would be bad for business.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois leaders aren't in agreement on a new state budget, even as the current one nears its July expiration date. Democrats passed their own version, but Governor Bruce Rauner can't act on most of it yet, even if he wants to.

Governor Bruce Rauner launches a long-anticipated fusillade of TV ads targeting House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Mike Riopell of the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald joins the panel this week.

ilga.gov

A long serving state senator from western Illinois says he won't run for re-election next year. 

Democrat John Sullivan of Rushville was first elected in 2001.  He says he still enjoys the job, but after talking it over with his wife, Joan, they decided it was time to move on. 

"I’ve actually been in jobs where it wasn’t fun anymore. And it shows in your attitude. It shows in your work. And I did not want to get to that point," he said.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Illinois lawmakers were not able to reach an agreement on the state’s budget in the spring session. However, both chambers managed to approve a number of bills that could make it easier for those with criminal records to secure jobs or at least get a foot in the door.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / WUIS

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Comcast must disclose a customer's identity — that of an anonymous online commenter — so the individual can be sued for defamation.

Lane Christiansen

The state official who reviews the use of public money in Illinois is retiring after more than two decades on the job. 

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' new Republican governor and the Democrats who lead the General Assembly are deadlocked over the right path for the state.

Gov. Rauner is pushing an agenda that’s both pro-business and anti-union. He says only once that’s passed will he consider raising taxes to stave off deep budget cuts. 

But Democrats say his plans would hurt the state and that the focus needs to be on the budget.

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