IL state workers pay at risk during budget stalemate

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - No budget, no pay.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan made an effort Friday to stop the payment of salaries to all state workers. The state of Illinois has been operating without a spending plan for more than a year and a half so Madigan is taking her case to court.

Madigan filed the motion on Thursday, Jan. 26 as a request to get rid of a court order that required the comptroller to pay out state employees salaries. This proposal asked that St. Clair County Circuit Court to terminate the original court order as of February 28. This would give the General Assembly and governor one month to get the finances/appropriations together.

Attorney General Madigan sent this statement in response to the motion:

"Like everyone else in this state, I have long hoped that the Legislature and the Governor would pass and enact a budget. Unfortunately, that has not occurred and an order by the St. Clair County Court has removed much of the urgency for the Legislature and the Governor to act on a budget. However, during this long impasse, the Illinois Supreme Court overruled the sole legal basis for the St. Clair County Court's order to allow state operations to continue without an appropriation. With a new legislative session now underway, this is an appropriate time to ask the Circuit Court to reconsider this order in light of the changes in the law."

Many people in the southern Illinois area did not know if "state workers" affected their jobs or not. According to the office of the Attorney General, this decision would in fact affect all state employees, with the exception of the university.

Local lawmakers weighed in and are not in favor of Madigan's decision. State Representative David Severin sent in a statement saying:

"Last night Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion to stop payments to state employees, while the state has no budget," Severin said. "The timing of this could not be worse. Just as the Senate begins to make legitimate bipartisan progress on a budget, Attorney General Madigan is attempting to manufacture a political crisis."

Severin said the Attorney General's motion will cause unnecessary anxiety for state employees and their families. He said he supports state employees receiving their paychecks on time and in full.

"This is a confusing flip-flop by Attorney General Madigan," Severin said. "She has held a different position on this issue before, despite the lack of budget. This action seems quite political to me, and I don't support her attempt to cause a crisis. State employees are doing their part to keep our services going, and they deserve to be paid for their work."

Since this is still an early part of the process, there are many details of the process that have not been clarified.

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