Illinois nears year two with no budget

Deadline looming for IL lawmakers to agree on budget

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - A deadline looms in Illinois that would hurdle the state into a second year without a formal budget.

Illinois lawmakers are expected to return to special session in the state's capitol on Wednesday, June 29, after a weeks-long break in the month of June.

Lawmakers are supposed to have the Illinois 2017 fiscal year budget decided by July 1. If no budget appropriation is decided by the deadline, many state programs could be halted.

Construction projects, department of corrections, public safety operations and uncertainty in the state's K-12 schools and higher education are at risk.

Programs that are federally funded, such as summer meal programs for children, could be halted, as well. Federal dollars flow through Illinois, but still have to be released through a bill decided by state lawmakers.

In the meantime, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders in the state Senate and House have started talks about a potential stop-gap funding plan that would fund state services through the end of 2016.

"I'm not nearly as worried about a "budget" this year," John A Logan College President Ronald House said. "We just need them to send us the money they owe us. We learned a lot last year... including the fact that they don't need a budget to send us money."

Amid ceased cash flow in FY-2016, John A. Logan College laid off 55 employees and announced cuts to some programs.

"We don't have a choice but to craft a budget every year, and the one we have now includes $7 million in state funds," House said. "If we don't get that by the end of the fiscal year, we are very conscious of the fact that we may have to make additional layoffs and cuts as we did before... and as hard as those were the first time around, they're going to be much much harder the second."

Representative John Bradley (D) for the 117th District in southern Illinois explained the situation as a problem that worsens each day.

"The list of hostages being held increases every day and the cost of getting out of this increases every day," Bradley said. "So, yeah I mean it gets worse every day that this isn't resolved."

Bradley said he is also advocating for some sort of short-term measure to get the state through the end of the year.

"We need to have something in place," Bradley said. "Whether you call it a stop-gap, whether you call it a part of a budget...something in place to fund schools and to fund essential services at a level to get us through this crisis. So, that we can continue to discuss and come up with a longer-term solution."

Representative Terri Bryant (R) for the 115th District said she would like to see a full year budget, but first wants to see money flowing.

"Of course we'd rather have a full year budget," Bryant said. "But right know you know a lot of things we do are baby steps because, as you and I have talked before, you have to rebuild some components of trust. There isn't a lot of bipartisanship going on in Springfield, or for that matter going on in Washington D.C. right now."

Since July of 2015, Illinois has operated with no formal budget. Lawmakers have passed several short-term funding plans to keep state services flowing and other bills are being paid at the order of Illinois courts, but many programs for at-risk Illinoisans have seen no paycheck in the last year.

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