No state budget means no snowplows in some IL counties - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

No state budget means no snowplows in some IL counties

UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

If the state doesn’t act soon, some counties in Illinois won’t be able to clean the roads this winter.

Union County Highway Engineer Kevin Grammer said if there isn’t action in Springfield by January, 10 of the Union County Highway Department’s 12 workers will be laid off.

“When we can’t put full crews on the road, the roads will be potentially shut down,” Grammer said.

Illinois drivers say they’re ready to see a compromise.

“In this area, we get a lot of ice storms and things like that,” said Illinois motorist Routen McQuirter. “That shuts down the area for a while, and obviously having a lot of the equipment that need to make sure the roads are clear is very important to drivers.”

“You know, we can’t spend what we don’t have,” explained Williamson County engineer Greg Smothers

Highway departments receive much of their funding from a state Motor Fuel Tax.

Due to the lack of a state budget, the state of Illinois is currently collecting that money from Illinois residents at the pump, but is not distributing the funds to the intended beneficiaries.

“My primary concern is public safety, going forward.” Smothers said. “Especially in the rural counties that don’t have the capability to do a lot of these things.”

Counties with larger tax bases, such as Williamson and Jackson, usually are able to amass a cash reserve, and can handle a lack of funds for some period of time.

Conversely, Johnson County has already laid off a number of workers, and Union County plans to soon, as well.

“The impacts are not good," said Union County Engineer Kevin Grammer, “Seventy-percent of our money that we spend in this county comes from the motor fuel tax money… just imagine taking your household and 70 percent of the money out of it and things are not going to be very good for very long.”

 “It takes people giving, and compromise on both sides of the spectrum, and hopefully coming up with a solution,” said McQuirter.

Some political analysts don’t expect an agreed-upon state budget until January because that’s when the regular session resumes.

If a decision is made before January, it would only be in a legislative special session, which requires a three-fifths majority for an agreement.

During a regular session only a simple majority is needed to come to a decision.

The regular session is scheduled to resume in January.

Monday marked 127 days since the original deadline for a state budget passed.

A stop gap measure which would allow the MFT to be distributed passed the Illinois House in September and has been debated twice in the Senate.

The measure is SB2046.

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