State Budget | WGLT

State Budget

Staff / WGLT

In the wake of another spring legislative session that failed to produce a state budget, two ratings agencies have downgraded state universities including ISU.

Standard and Poor's recently chose not to downgrade ISU, but S and P has a rule that no public university can be more than three grades above the rating for its host state. And so when S and P downgraded Illinois, last week it also gave a technical downgrade to ISU to A minus.

Baby Fold Residential Care Center To Close

Jun 1, 2017
Baby Fold

The Baby Fold's Residential Treatment Center for children and teens who suffer emotional difficulties due to abuse and neglect will close at the end of the month -- another casualty of the Illinois budget impasse.

NCHS teacher Patrick Lawler

A group of Normal Community High School students has tried their hands at breaking the budget deadlock.

A group led by Social Studies teacher Patrick Lawler drove to Springfield to meet with General Assembly members.

David Stillman / Flickr

A nonpartisan research group said Illinois’ desperate financial condition is getting even worse.

The Civic Federation of Chicago said unless something is done soon, by next year the state’s pile of unpaid bills could consume half of all new tax revenue.

The group has published an 86-page report outlining where it thinks Illinois ought to go.

Woman at church podium holding a photo of children in each hand.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly took to the podium at First United Methodist Church in Normal last night and joked the budget situation must be really bad because he's now meeting regularly with other superintendents and local college presidents.  "I don't remember that ever happening in my 27 years in education ... that presidents of universities and community colleges all get together in a room to have these discussions.  That tells you how serious it is," he told a community gathering organized to share stories and pray for the victims of the state budget impasse.  

Staff / WGLT

61 social service agencies suing the State of Illinois over the budget impasse got their day in court on Thursday.

An attorney for the agencies told Illinois Appellate Court judges the agencies are political hostages because of the budget impasse. Those groups are suing the state to get paid what they’re owed.

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

An expert on the proposed revision to the school funding formula says educators are on board with the idea even if politicians aren't there yet.

LeRoy School Superintendent Gary Tipsord spoke during a recent Town Hall on school funding at Heartland Community Colege about the so-called evidence based funding model.

Staff

Administrators at Heartland Community College are preparing a strategic budgeting process that calls for the college to dip into reserves only if state funding completely dries up and even then, not for a couple more years.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Governor Bruce Rauner indicates a key difference in competing school funding bills is a bargaining chip.

Rauner said Chicago Schools should be treated the same as other districts by the state. That came during a tour of the Beer Nuts factory in Bloomington as WGLT asked Rauner about Senator Jason Barickman's school funding formula bill.

Staff / WGLT

The proposed $15 per hour minimum wage for Illinois could cost Illinois State University about $8 million.

That's according to ISU President Larry Dietz, who spoke to the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Committee in Springfield Tuesday.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Illinois lawmakers have returned to Springfield as state government is closing on 22 months without a budget.

Governor Bruce Rauner has been saying he’s heard there's good progress on an overall budget deal.

Staff / WGLT

The United Way of McLean County is dramatically reducing support for human service agencies.

ISU Credit Rating Unchanged With An Asterisk

Apr 21, 2017
Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University's bond rating remains unchanged, though the Standard and Poor's agency has placed ISU on a credit watch.

That's in recognition of the state budget crisis and a lack of more than $80 million the university would regularly have received in the last two years if not for the deadlock between the governor and lawmakers.

Unit 5 district offices
Staff / WGLT

The head of the Unit Five School District says he is pushing the panic button firmly about state aid payments. Speaking during GLT's Sound Ideas, Superintendent Mark Daniel said the district will run out of money about the end of the spring legislative session.

"We will not be able to have a balanced budget. So we will be in deficit spending: My great concern is if there is no state budget then how are they going to make payments in the future," said Daniel.

Dan Brady at mic
Staff / WGLT

Republicans in Springfield voted against the so-called 'lifeline' budget that cleared the Illinois House house last week.

The plan appropriates $815 million for things like homeless services, domestic violence programs, and MAP grants for low-income college students. One of those voting against the lifeline plan was Bloomington Republican Dan Brady.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz is set to appear before two legislative committees in Springfield this month to testify about the budgeting process--or lack of one.

Thursday, he will speak about budget issues to the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee. Then next week, he'll do the same thing on the senate side.

Staff

With only 24 hours notice, presidents of universities from all over the state hustled to Springfield Tuesday to attend a Senate Higher Education committee hearing on the budget.

Illinois State's Larry Dietz said it was frustrating considering some observers viewed it as a political stunt by Democrats to force Governor Rauner into going along with greater revenue increases.

Meagan Davis / Flickr

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is taking her case over state employee pay to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Madigan is asking the justices to review a lower court order that has kept state workers getting paid during the 20-month budget stalemate.

Meagan Davis / Flickr

Illinois senators are putting Governor Bruce Rauner’s agency directors under the magnifying glass. It’s part of the ongoing fallout from Rauner’s move to block the bipartisan "grand bargain” — meant to end Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate.

Andrew Horne / Wikimedia Commons

Illinois dentists want the option to void state workers’ dental plans. New legislation aims to do just that. If dentists could opt out of state worker insurance, those patients would have to pay for all dental work out of pocket — and wait themselves for the state to pay them back.

CBlue98 / Flickr

McLean County Government is planning a behavioral health forum as part of its continued focus on mental health issues.

County Board Chair John McIntyre said it will be May 18th.

Staff / WGLT

The union representing Metcom workers in McLean County is heading back to the bargaining table with the county right after approval of the latest contract.

That's because the 23 members of the bargaining unit have been working on an expired agreement for more than a year.

AFSCME.org

Members of AFSCME, the biggest labor union representing Illinois state workers, have taken a big step toward a possible strike.

AFSCME has been fighting with Gov. Bruce Rauner over its contract for more than two years.

And the strike authorization vote comes more than a year after Rauner broke off negotiations, saying they were at impasse.

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register/Pool

Governor Bruce Rauner is finally weighing in on a bipartisan deal meant to end Illinois’ budget stalemate. Rauner shot down a key component of the compromise during his budget speech.

Rauner was kept out of the Senate negotiations from the start. He has since praised them in general but refused to get into specifics until now. In his budget speech to the General Assembly Rauner said he does support expanding the sales tax to cover more services but he opposes taxing groceries and drugs.

JWolff-STL / Flickr

Next week a downstate judge is scheduled to hear arguments whether Illinois state workers should be paid if there’s still no budget. The result could shut down state government.

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan says if a judge rules employees cannot get paid, the threat of a shutdown could force a budget agreement.

Rauner Madigan Mediator Failed

Feb 10, 2017
Dave Gray / Flickr

Governor Bruce Rauner says an undisclosed third party tried to help strike a budget deal between the Illinois governor and his main political rival, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The Governor was asked on Chicago Public Radio whether he has tried a mediator with Democratic House Speaker Madigan.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Politicians of all parties often sidestep awkward questions.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner followed that tradition during a stop at Heartland Community College in Normal on Wednesday.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

After 19 months without a state budget, Illinois senators Tuesday were not yet ready to move forward on a compromise plan intended to end the impasse.

Democrats and Republicans spent hours behind closed doors, arguing about whether the deal negotiated by their leaders was good enough to end Illinois’ unprecedented budget fight.

It came a day after Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, made the case for his so-called grand bargain in a speech Monday in Chicago.

“If not this plan, then what? If not now, then when?" Cullerton asked.

Not today, apparently.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

At least one social service director is beginning to wonder if social service agencies are caught in the middle of the state budget crisis or if the agencies are in the cross hairs.

Tazwood Center For Wellness

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies   That was in spring of 2016. There's still no budget. In our new series Stretched Thinner, we check back in with those social social service agencies.

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