Illinois budget 'storm' likely to continue
Republicans appear unlikely to agree with Democrats on a spending plan, and Democrats haven't yet agreed with each other as they face a midnight Tuesday deadline to approve a state budget ahead of yet another summer of political blame games.
The upshot: Colleges and universities that have laid off workers and local agencies that have had to raise more money or cut services for addicts and abuse victims may have more months to wait for funding while state officials continue their budget war.
"We've weathered the storm this far," said Michelle Meyer, executive director of Mutual Ground, a domestic abuse shelter in Aurora. "You can't expect an organization to go on forever footing the bills for the state."
Starting Wednesday, budget proposals in the Illinois House and Senate will need more votes to get approval, making it more challenging to get a deal that has eluded Democrats and Gov. Bruce Rauner during his term.
Illinois House Democrats led by Speaker Michael Madigan approved a budget, but Senate Democrats haven't yet voted to go along. And Rauner has said he'll veto the whole proposal anyway, arguing the Madigan team's budget is $7 billion out of balance.
Before accepting their spending proposals, Rauner has wanted Democrats to approve some of his priorities, such as a property tax freeze.
A compromise isn't on the horizon as both sides traded criticisms again Monday afternoon.
State Sen. Matt Murphy, a Palatine Republican, criticized a private meeting of Democrats about those policies after trying to get in.
"I hope rank-and-file legislators will stand with us and not fall victim to the speaker's ongoing personal vendetta against the governor that holds all of Illinois hostage," Murphy said in a statement.
Democrats called the move a stunt.
"For legislators of one party to try to interject themselves into the meetings among legislators of the other party as a media stunt is unprecedented," state Rep. John Bradley, a Marion Democrat, said.
Court orders and federal decrees have kept much of the state's services running as Illinois moves closer to going a year without a budget.
"It all comes down to uncertainty," said Shawn Jeffers, executive director of Palatine-based Little City, which cares for people with disabilities. "I feel like this is being put off, just waiting in line. There's a real consequence and it's a human consequence."