Springfield- Despite a looming deadline to pass a full-year budget, Speaker Madigan decided to end the first week of the fall veto session a day early, according to State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria). That leaves the General Assembly with only three days left in the fall veto session.
“We should be here working on a budget, but instead, the first week of veto session has already been cut by a third.” said Sen. Weaver. “This is shameful and a slap in the face to the citizens of this state who deserve to have their government working.”
According to projections from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, without further action the current budget is expected to be $5.3 billion out of balance which will only add to the current bill backlog of $10.6 billion. On January 1st, the spending authority for much of the budget will expire, meaning no more money is appropriated for the state’s already struggling colleges and universities, some human service providers, state vendors and operations (including power bills for prisons and state facilities), and healthcare for state employees.
Already the state is extremely late or unable to pay many bills, because there simply isn’t enough money in the General Revenue Fund to cover the checks.
“As a result of Tuesday’s election, this situation is made worse since the new Comptroller will be beholden to Speaker Madigan and will be able to pick and choose what gets paid,” said Sen. Weaver. “I think we all know too well that Chicago could become the priority and downstate could get stiffed.”
Current Comptroller Leslie Munger has been working with the Governor’s office to determine what bills are the highest priority and need to be paid first to keep critical state services functioning. As an example, she has put lawmaker paychecks at the back of the line with other backlogged bills.
Governor Rauner has convened leaders meetings to try to work on the budget. Speaker Madigan missed the first meeting. In the second meeting he recommended restarting the budget negotiation process which many feel is a delay tactic to stonewall the Governor’s effort to have a budget determined during the lame duck session.