Rauner: State will prep loans for cash-strapped suburbs

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration said Monday it's preparing to make loans to communities and state vendors after legislation to send communities a long-delayed share of gasoline and gambling tax money stalled.

The governor does not detail how loans would work in a letter from a top aide to lawmakers Monday. But as the historic budget fight of 2015 gets closer to bleeding into 2016, the move might help some mayors whose towns have been hurt by the stalemate.

Money from the Illinois Finance Authority could help towns that, for example, have had trouble buying road salt because the Illinois budget war has halted the flow of tax money, for now.

"Indeed, if past is prologue, we might expect more shenanigans that put politics over the needs of our citizens," a letter to lawmakers from top Rauner aide Richard Goldberg reads. "Therefore, our administration will move forward with contingency financing options to protect the citizens of Illinois."

Republicans in recent weeks agreed to a Democratic plan to approve legislation to free up money for local communities, lottery winners and others after Rauner said he'd be OK with the move.

The governor suggested additions to the proposals that Democrats didn't add, and a lieutenant of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan put a hold on the legislation from state Rep. Marty Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat, blocking it from moving forward even though the House voted to approve. And the Senate has no plans to reconvene in Springfield to consider it soon if Democrats allowed it to advance.

Moylan called the loan idea "completely ridiculous."

"We'll continue to push this bill," he said.

Without a budget since July 1, the state hasn't been able to make the regular payments to communities it usually does.

The House is due back Dec. 2, a day after Rauner, Madigan and other top lawmakers are set to get together in a widely touted meeting to talk about the ongoing budget stalemate.

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