Delayed payments by Illinois leave more with out work

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The financial crisis in Illinois continues to have a ripple effect in the Heartland as some workers in Franklin County recently learned their paychecks would end.

Their jobs were at different companies in the area.  However, everyone got his or her job, through a state program called EarnFare.  Denning Township in Franklin County participates in the program.  But since it is not clear when the state will provide funding, the last round of paychecks for this fiscal year will soon be sent out.

"It's a FedEx cake I actually helped with," Jamie Murphy said.  "I made the tires and bumper."

For two months, Heavenly Cakes in West Frankfort served as both a job and classroom for Murphy.

"A few other things I do are help with the dishes, icing cakes," Murphy said.  "We do brownies of different flavors and different sorts."

However, recently Murphy's lessons and pay came to an ended.

"I'm disabled and I was working off my food stamps," Murphy said.  "And it helps just having the cash income."

Murphy got the job through Denning Township and its participation in the EarnFare program.  The six-month program is funded by the state of Illinois.  It is for single folks, with no dependants who are on food stamps.

Denning Township supervisor Nancy Bundy signs the paychecks for those like Murphy.  Bundy says once the contract from the state is receive, they hope to put people back to work.

"But our policy until we are fairly well assured that we have the money in hand we kind of delay putting people to work," Bundy said.

However, as for when Bundy will have the money, it is not known.  The State of Illinois is months behind in paying its bills.  Bundy says last year, those program dollars showed up three months after the contract.

These are people that need the work, they need the money, and unfortunately our hands are tied," Bundy said.  "We've seen too many cases where the money is supposed to be there and it's months down the line before it comes and we just can't afford to be in that spot right now."

Still Murphy holds out hope that Illinois will send dollars and she'll return to work at Heavenly Cakes.

"I wish the EarnFare program would come back to help other people like me learn new skills," Murphy said.

Bundy says once they have a contract from the state and know the money is on its way, they will call people back to work.

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