Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' lack of a budget means public pension systems won't get their state contribution next month. That won't stop retirees from getting their checks. However, there could still be an impact.

As the budget gridlock continues, downstate Republicans are finding themselves having to balance support for the Governor with constituent concerns.

One of those lawmakers is C-D Davidsmeyer.

Christopher Z. Mooney

You may be asking: How did Illinois get to this point?

A Cook County judge's ruling Tuesday that state employees won't receive their salaries during a budget impasse adds a new wrinkle as the Republican Governor and Democratic-led legislature struggle to reach an agreement.

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.

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.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Your favorite TV show might be interrupted with a pointed message purchased by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, though  the governor is refusing to say whether he's going to buy TV time to promote his agenda as he battles with the legislature's Democratic leaders.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's office appears to be preparing in case there's a strike. The state's contract with its largest public employees' union, AFSCME, expires on June 30, when the state's fiscal year ends.

House floor
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Democrats are moving forward with a new state budget. The House passed a huge chunk of it on Tuesday.

The Democrats' budget includes funding many programs the governor planned to cut, even though Illinois is short about $3 billion to pay for all of that spending.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Democrats are moving forward with a new state budget-- one that closely mirrors the current one. However, it does make cuts nearly across the board, save for education through high school. The Republican governor is already expressing his frustration.

The issue is, Illinois' income tax rate has dropped, so the state's missing out on billions of dollars. Gov. Bruce Rauner had proposed massive cuts to make up for it.

Illinois legislators are back in session Monday as they look toward a May 31 adjournment date. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently sent a direct, and public, message to them about how he wants things to go.

In a recent op-ed penned in the capital city's newspaper, Gov. Bruce Rauner wrote that "Illinois needs a turnaround." He went on to say, "The public understands that, but it appears many state elected officials do not."

That column was a way for Rauner to speak to his supporters.

Bruce Rauner

Illinois legislators are taking a weekend break, though there are major issues unresolved heading toward their May 31 adjournment.

After long last, a handful of Gov. Bruce Rauner's initiatives were just introduced -- term limits, restrictions on where lawsuits can be filed, minimizing what companies are responsible for when it comes to workers' compensation claims, and a property tax freeze.

"It's time that we get down to business and really start making a difference in how we do business in the state," Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said.


Illinois House Democrats continued to advance budget means that would restore funding to human services programs that the governor proposes cutting.

Republicans continue to question Democrats' motive. They say it's more of a partisan play than a real budget vote.

GOP Rep. Ron Sandack from Downers Grove complained that the measures did not go through typical budget procedures.

"We gotta get past this and actually engage in a budget process that's inclusive, bipartisan and actually moves the needle," Sandack said. "This does nothing but waste time."

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

After partisan debating over the budget, Democrats and Republicans came together in America's pastime.

Lawmakers put aside partisan differences to play softball. Forget Republicans versus Democrats; this match pits Senate against the House.

Rep. Anthony DeLuca, a Democrat from Chicago Heights, was named Most Valuable Player for the House. DeLuca says the annual game is a way for lawmakers to become teammates rather than opponents.

"There's a lot of camaraderie. It's good," he said. "People that don't normally talk to each other are talking, and it's good for that."

House floor
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to cut the state budget took a spectacular fall Wednesday in the Illinois House.

The new Republican governor's plan reduces Illinois' budget by $6 billion for the next fiscal year.

That means doing away with, or spending less, on everything from healthcare for the poor, autism services and support for older foster kids.

No GOP legislator has actually introduced a bill that would precipitate those cuts. So in a surprise move, the Democratic Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan, took it upon himself.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

As Illinois faces major budget problems, everyone has a different answer for which services to cut and which taxes to raise.

Mike Nobis is worried. His commercial printing company has been in Quincy, Illinois for 108 years. He says he's struggling to compete with other companies, especially those across the border in Missouri.

Illinois' current sales tax does not cover most services. Nobis says if that tax is expanded to cover the printing industry, he might go out of business.


The Illinois Senate could begin voting Wednesday on a plan to reverse a smattering of state grants recently eliminated by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Democratic legislators say they were caught off guard earlier this month when Rauner suddenly took $26 million in funding away from programs, including ones that support autistic children and people with epilepsy.

Sen. Dan Kotowksi, a Park Ridge Democrat, says Illinois should restore at least a portion of the money. He proposes getting it by sweeping special state funds that have reserves.

African American legislators say the impoverished parts of the state will be most affected by budget cuts.

Dangerous and Draconian. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus uses those words to explain $26 million Governor Bruce Rauner recently suspended in state grants.  He's proposed more cuts for next year.

Senator Kim Lightford says Rauner's cuts will be devastating in four main areas public safety, education, health and the economy. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he has big plans for the state's infrastructure. He addressed the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association on Tuesday in Springfield.

Rauner told the group, whose members benefit when the state spends money on roads, that Illinois will invest more on infrastructure in the next four years than ever before. He gave no clear indication of where the money would come from.

Illinois’ budget is in even worse shape than previously thought. Illinois has the biggest unfunded pension obligation in the nation. Illinois slapped with the lowest credit rating of any state. These are the grim headlines Illinois residents endure on a regular basis. You can’t live in this state and not have at least a vague idea that our budget is in the dumps. 

Amanda Vinicky

Thirty-eight days into his term as Illinois' governor, Bruce Rauner yesterday delivered his much-anticipated budget address. Amanda Vinicky recaps the financial reckoning.

U Of I Responds To Governor's Budget

Feb 18, 2015

A top University of Illinois administrator says everything is on the table after Republican Governor Bruce Rauner proposed a thirty percent cut to state higher education funding.

Christophe Pierre, the U of I's Vice President for Academic Affairs, calls today's (Wednesday's) budget proposal disappointing. He says the university has other sources of revenue, but many come with restrictions on how the money is spent.

Just how Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to deal with Illinois' budget and its deficit largely remains a mystery. Rauner is set to finally unveil his ideas Wednesday, when he gives his budget address. However, the legislature's leaders got a preview the day before.

House Speaker Michael Madigan walked out the large, glass doors of the governor's antechamber, with this to say about his meeting with Rauner:

"The governor simply said that he's got some tough medicine to deliver."

Bruce Rauner

News Analysis  — As the time bombs built into the current fiscal year’s budget begin to go off, Gov. Bruce Rauner wants lawmakers to give him broad powers to move money around.

Bruce Rauner

State employees can rest assured-- Gov. Bruce Rauner does not want to cut their salaries. But a memo sent to state legislators Monday warns of other changes the governor would like to see.

Shortly after becoming governor, Rauner tried to spread goodwill, reaching out to workers with visits to state offices.

"I want to make Illinois a wonderful place to work for everyone here. I want good, fair compensation."

Then came a series of speeches, previewing his State of the State address on Wednesday, in which he says Illinois' payroll is bloated.

Amanda Vinicky

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner has already tried to make the case that that Illinois' finances are worse than he thought. Now he's adding to his list of examples.

"What we've learned here in recent days, and I'm here to get more of the detail on ... there's $760 million of what they're calling - what I guess, I'm learning the lingo - supplemental appropriations, about to be requested," he said.

Basically, it means that state agencies are going to be asking for an additional $760 million to get them through this budget year -- or, as Rauner put it, they want to go "over budget."

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Listen to Dunn's interview about her column with Rachel Otwell: 


Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way. A new report from the Civic Federation says it's a return to detrimental policies that landed Illinois in an unstable financial position in the first place.

There was one, glaring question for lawmakers last spring: what were they going to do about the temporary income tax?

Illinois is about a quarter of the way into its fiscal year and building up debt along the way.

A new report says it's a return to detrimental policies that landed Illinois in an unstable financial position in the first place.
There was one, glaring question for lawmakers last spring: what were they going to do about the temporary income tax?

Illinois hiked rates in 2011, but only until midway through this fiscal year.  The 5% rate rolls back to 3.75%  in January.

Wall Street's view of Illinois' financial health has taken a hit, thanks largely to the state budget that took effect at the start of this month. Pensions also continue to be a drag. 

When Illinois Democrats passed the state's latest budget, many seemed to hold their nose. Credit ratings agencies are more direct: Standard & Poors has revised Illinois' credit outlook to "negative." 

It says the new budget "is not structurally balanced and will contribute to growing."