Michael Madigan

flickr/ Jim Bowen

Looking beyond our state’s borders and into Illinois’ past for a playbook to end the current budget standoff. 

flickr/picturesofmoney

An attempt to add a surtax on Illinois millionaires failed in the Illinois House. 

House Speaker and Democrat Michael Madigan has backed the idea that would raise more money for schools.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, spoke about Medicaid on public television’s Illinois Lawmakers: “Boiling it down in more simple terms … who are the people that are eligible? How much of it will they get? How often will they get it?
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to change the state constitution so it requires the state to foot the bill for the majority of school funding. House Republicans pushed back some at a Monday hearing over the potential cost.

After months without meeting, the governor and legislative leaders gathered behind closed doors this week, with apparently no progress toward a budget agreement. Speculation continues the Attorney General might go to court to stop state workers from being paid without an appropriation. Some believe such a move could force the governor and leaders to reach a deal. Others aren't so sure.  The State Journal-Register's Doug Finke joins the panel.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The speaker of the Illinois House made a rare policy speech during a debate Tuesday afternoon. It was intended to put in context legislative Democrats’ long-running dispute with the Republican governor over state spending.

TRANSCRIPT: On Tuesday afternoon, Statehouse reporters got an email from the spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan. “Let me suggest listening to the speaker’s comments … on the floor,” the message read.

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' top legislators and the governor met yesterday for the first time this year. There's no indication it led to any resolution of the state's prolonged budget stalemate.

The private meeting lasted roughly an hour.

Neither Gov. Bruce Rauner nor any of the four legislative leaders had any direct comment on how it went (they slipped of the governor's capitol office through back doors that enabled them to avoid media waiting outside) but Speaker Michael Madigan made clear where he stands shortly after in a rare, ten minute speech on the House floor.

This week, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno declared, "We need change!"  However, there is still no agreement among state lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner on what form that change should take as Illinois continues to go without a spending plan.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn and The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg join the panel.

As Chicago State University moves closer to closing, Gov. Bruce Rauner this week said he's “very upset" about Illinois not having a budget. But didn't he once outline just this sort of plan as a way to advance his agenda of hobbling public employee unions? Meanwhile, several things happening in and around the U.S. Supreme Court are reverberating in Illinois.

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation

By the end of next week, Illinois will have gone a full nine months without a budget. And yet, the state's top politicians still aren't talking. The governor and the four legislative leaders went all of June through November without meeting, before finally getting together a couple of times just before the end of 2015. They didn't continue into the new year.


Amanda Vinicky

Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin -- each collects private donations to help run their state fairs. But despite faulty infrastructure that will cost an estimated 180 million dollars to repair, Illinois does not.

It’s a windy day on the state fairgrounds in Springfield. Illinois' Director of Agriculture, Raymond Poe, laments a nearby building's crumbling roof.

"Agriculture represents about 25 percent of the economic value of the state of Illinois, all the way from farmers to exports. We need a place - and a high class place - to showcase our agriculture," he said.

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

With victories Tuesday in Illinois and elsewhere, Donald Trump is continuing his march toward the Republican presidential nomination. Those contemplating what a Trump presidency would look like might consider Illinois' ongoing case study in the promise and perils of the businessman-turned-politician.

Statehouse exit sign
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' primary may be over, but the friction between Governor Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan is not. Nor is their divide over the path forward.

Madigan's viewing the primary results as a sort of vindication, as though the contests were a referendum on Rauner's pro-business, anti-union agenda, and voters rejected it.

The Speaker points to two races as proof: his own, in which he fended off a candidate whom Madigan says was supported by "those aligned with the governor’s belief in how government should be run."

Macon County

Illinois' primary contest is rapidly approaching, which is why NPR Illinois is bringing you this Illinois Edition pre-primary special (which aired Wed., March 9). 

This election cycle is wild, and not just at the top of the ticket --- though Illinois has already seen presidential candidates including Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump stop by.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has already, presumably, cast his vote for one of the remaining Republicans --- he early voted in Arlington Heights a weekend in early March.

With the election arriving next Tuesday, a handful of candidates and their "dark money" supporters were spending millions of dollars on just a handful of campaigns. Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner once again went on the attack against Democrats, and university presidents began making a more forceful case for state funding.

Jason Gonzales campaign website

House Speaker Michael Madigan has won the Democratic primary, and subsequent general election, nearly two dozen times -- usually sailing to victory without serious opposition. But this year there are powerful forces trying to topple him. He's facing a well-funded challenge in the March 15 primary.

Amanda Vinicky

Nine months into a stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday let loose on House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Amanda Vinicky

It's less than two weeks before the March primary election. Illinois lawmakers in the House wanted to show voters they are working to resolve the state's financial issues. However, the House recessed Thursday until early next month.

It’s been 247 days since the state of Illinois had a budget. In that time, the nation of Iran struck a deal with America to limit its nuclear program and the United States reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba. But in Springfield there is still no peace.

Illinois Lottery

Even as Illinois scrounges for money it appears as if the state will let revenue slip away, albeit only a tiny slice of revenue. Legislators' delay also means that by the end of this month, Lottery fans won't be able to buy tickets online.

Years ago, Illinois authorized online Lottery sales --- but only on a temporary basis. That authority expires March 25.

Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Republican from Lake County,  introduced legislation to make the program permanent, "because it's a process that has done well, and it's done well for bringing money into our schools."

The latest effort to fund Illinois' financially-starving universities and colleges may be dead on arrival. Republicans are giving early indications they're not buying a last-minute offer unveiled just Wednesday night and slated for debate Thursday.

Republicans have rebuffed Democrats' other attempts at funding higher education because they say it would add to the state's deficit, including a measure lawmakers spent much of Wednesday debating.

WIUM

Higher education continues to be caught in Illinois lawmakers' political crossfire.

University of Illinois Public Affairs

The vitriol and finger-pointing over the gridlock in state government has amplified. University leaders are trying to keep their distance, even as they fight for funding.

Gov. Bruce Rauner stumped across Illinois to drum up support for education funding — K-12 education finding, at least. College students, particularly from low-income backgrounds, have no such luck.

Creative Commons: Chris He, 2009

Journalists in Illinois have come up short trying to get information about Governor Bruce Rauner's state email. Wednedsay, the governor gave his explanation for why.

State transparency laws mean requests for emails in which Rauner had done state business should have yielded something.   

Unless, of course -- even in this age of digital everything -- there aren't any.

"I have no email. None whatsoever," Rauner says.

Gov. Rauner says an email-free existence has improved his quality of life, and increased his productivity.

Illinois lawmakers are beginning to craft a new state budget even though there still isn't one eight months into this fiscal year. There's no precedent for handling this murky situation. It go go any number of ways.

One option would have politicians craft a spending plan to cover this, the 2016 fiscal year ending June 30, before moving on. "I think we've kind of blown past that deadline already," Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said Wednesday following GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget address.

Governor Bruce Rauner addressed the Illinois General Assembly this week with his vision for the next fiscal year, despite still having no agreement on a spending plan for the current year.  John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says it's shocking and unacceptable that the state is in its eighth month without a budget. Wednesday, he laid out his vision for finally ending the political stalemate that has paralyzed state government. The Republican's language was more conciliatory, but the ideas remain the same.

Illinois government has never gone this long without a budget. The big question going into the speech was -- would the governor say anything to change the dynamic that's brought about this historic impasse?

WUIS

Listen to our broadcast of the Governor's Address with reaction from House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leaders Rep. Jim Durkin and Sen. Christine Radogno.

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax and NPR Illinois' Amanda Vinicky join host Jak Tichenor for the broadcast:

With the state budget impasse ongoing, lack of money continues to affect Illinois colleges and universities as well as Chicago Public Schools.  Chris Mooney, director of the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs, joins the panel.

flickr/ rabiem22

Commentary — Might we be seeing light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it the headlamps of the ongoing train wreck that is Illinois, picking up speed? Such questions came to mind listening to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address last week.

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