House agrees to pay suburbs and lottery winners, but no money coming yet
Republicans and Democrats made a rare joint effort to send some long-awaited state money to mayors and Illinois Lottery winners who have been begging for it.
But the money might not be coming soon.
Illinois House lawmakers of both parties approved state Rep. Marty Moylan's legislation to send gasoline and gambling tax money to communities that have missed out during the ongoing state budget impasse, an idea Gov. Bruce Rauner endorsed. The Des Plaines Democrat's proposals would mean millions of dollars in money that has been delayed since the state blew past July 1 without a budget in place.
But even in that agreement there was friction that underscored the ongoing budget stalemate that has lasted most of the year.
And because the Illinois Senate still needs to approve -- and isn't scheduled to meet again until next year -- the check isn't yet in the mail, and might not be for a while.
Mayors have complained that without that tax money, their budgets have been hampered and buying road salt for the winter, for example, could be more difficult.
State Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican, accused Democrats of playing "slimy games" by not adding payments for programs Rauner suggested -- such as vehicle maintenance by the Illinois State Police and road salt for state crews -- to Moylan's proposal.
"Keeping our roads safe in snowy weather, keeping our veterans fed and keeping our debt obligations paid -- we can all agree these should be bipartisan priorities," a memo from a top Rauner aide read.
Still, Republicans joined Democrats to send the proposal to the Senate.
The dynamics of the budget stalemate in Illinois haven't changed for months, but some lawmakers saw reason for optimism in Rauner's willingness in recent days to compromise on Moylan's plan and on a program that helps low-income families pay for day care.
"I think it's a really healthy signal on everybody's part," said state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, a St. Charles Republican.
State Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, said talk between the sides seems like progress. But he said Rauner giving ground on a day care program he unilaterally cut shouldn't be considered compromise.
Rauner wants pro-business laws that curb union power, while Democrats say he should deal on increasing revenue for key programs before tackling "non-budget" issues.
While Rauner relented Monday on child-care eligibility and agreed not to reassess -- and restrict -- seniors from getting service to stay independent, Democrats say they were cut too steeply to begin with.
And Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said he didn't see a quick resolution to the state budget war. Rauner, Madigan and other legislative leaders are set to meet at an open meeting Nov. 18, but no agenda has been set.
"Obviously, the governor has restored some programs. That's good," Madigan said. "But we're still a long way away from a final resolution."
• The Associated Press contributed to this story.