State Budget | WGLT

State Budget

Cristian Jaramillo / Staff

A year ago, when Illinois was hitting it's seventh straight month without a budget, the Baby Fold child care and education agency was about $1.7 million in the hole. 


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.  

Mid Central Community Action in Bloomington is keeping its head above water as it tries to deliver services to the homeless, to those escaping and recovering from domestic violence, and to those who are trying to stabilize their lives.

Cristian Jaramillio / Staff

Several programs operated by the Bloomington-Normal YWCA rely heavily on state funds. Liz German, Vice President of Operations at the YW says the impasse in Springfield has many of those programs on hold.

"We have been told that, as of January 1, there is no more money," German said during Sound Ideas. "Theoretically there are hundreds of thousands of dollars we won't be getting. This hurts because it means federal matching dollars won't be available either," she added.

One position has already been eliminated, German said, and other cuts are on the way.

Cristan Jaramillo / WGLT

Editors Note: During our interview series Stretched Thin, we reported on the impact of the state budget impasse on local social service agencies and heard how the stalemate was affecting members of the community.  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. 

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

The Children's Home and Aid Regional Office in Bloomington received rare good news late last year when it received a $577,000 grant from the Illinois Board of Education. The money was targeted to expand the agency's "Preschool For All" and "Prevention Initiative" programs that combined serve children from birth to age 5. 

Matt Turner / Flickr

Top leaders in the Illinois Senate continue to negotiate on a "grand bargain" to end the state's budget standoff.

They left the Capitol on an 11-day break Thursday without voting on the proposals. Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat, is negotiating with his Republican counterpart. He told his colleagues when session resumes next month, come back ready to vote.

Maria T. Moreno / Facebook

A Democratic Illinois legislator is calling for free tuition at state universities.

With Illinois’ pile of unpaid bills topping 10-billion dollars, Representative Will Guzzardi, from Chicago, acknowledges it’s not a short-term goal.

“But, I want that to be the guidestar, I want that to be the objective that we work toward. And this year, I want us to pass something that’s going to make college a little more affordable and reduce the burden of debt on working families,” Guzzardi said.

He declined to give any specifics on what that “something” might be.

Baby Fold

Representatives from Bloomington-Normal non-profit groups are responding to Governor Rauner's State of the State message with a joint plea for a state budget.

During an interview recorded for the series Stretched Thinner, airing next week on GLT, YWCA vice president of operations Liz German, said going without a budget for nearly two years has put undue expectations on social service agencies.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Gov. Bruce Rauner said he is "deeply optimistic" about the future of Illinois despite the state's problems. He addressed a joint session of the General Assembly with his third State of the State address.

The Republican said he is frustrated by the "slow pace of change."

Justin Brocke / Flickr

The so-called grand bargain for a potential state budget would raise income taxes, freeze local property taxes, borrow to pay off back bills, expand casino gambling, and many other things.

Prospects for the package under consideration in the Senate could cut either way: too complex to succeed, or needfully inclusive in that everyone must give something.

Meagan Davis / Flickr

Members of the Illinois Senate spent hours Tuesday considering a deal meant to end Illinois' 18-month budget standoff.

Thumpr455 / Flickr

Illinois Republicans are reviving plans to sell and redevelop the James R. Thompson Center, claiming their proposal for the 16-story Chicago building housing state employees could generate hundreds of millions of dollars.   

Republican leaders Sen. Christine Radogno and Rep. Jim Durkin will introduce legislation to sell the building designed by architect Helmut Jahn. Their pitch has sketches, including one for a 1,700-foot tower, which would become Chicago's tallest. It'd house shops, residences and a hotel.  


Gov. Bruce Rauner's office estimates a Senate proposal to break a nearly two-year Illinois budget deadlock would still leave the treasury billions of dollars in the red.

The review obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press shows tax increases floated in the Senate plan would increase revenue by $1.7 billion. But it says it adds more than $4 billion in spending.

Mitch Altman / Flickr

The mayor of Urbana is among those attending the U. S. Conference of Mayors in Washington D.C.

Mayor Laurel Prussing said a common idea being heard is that municipalities are crucial in providing innovation and fiscal stability. In Illinois she says that's particularly true given the nearly 2-year impasse preventing a state budget.

"Local government really is going to be carrying a lot of extra weight because the state and federal government can't seem to function as well as we would want them to," Prussing said.

Baylee Steelman

Unit 5 Business Manager Marty Hickman said the state's ongoing budget impasse brings uncertainty to the school district. 

Staff / WGLT

State Senator Bill Brady, (R) Bloomington, is now on a higher rung of Senate leadership.

Minority Leader Christine Radogno has picked Brady as Deputy Leader, his first time in that role.

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate. But, the plan has been put on hold.

Rube Goldberg would be impressed by this budget plan. It's got cuts to government pensions, six new casino licenses, and a gradual minimum wage hike.

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

The Illinois Senate has moved legislation to the floor that would address the long-running state budget stalemate.  

The Assignments Committee has approved eight measures that include an increase in the income tax rate to 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent.

Staff / WGLT

ISU Faculty and staff will see more in their paychecks next year.

University President Larry Dietz has announced raises up to two percent will begin in January.


Illinois' new comptroller says she will continue the practice of waiting to pay public officials' paychecks.

Democrat Susana Mendoza took the oath of office for comptroller Monday in the statehouse rotunda.  She's taking over as a handful of legislators from her party are suing her office to be paid on time.

"I hope my former colleagues in the legislature will understand my decision to continue to prioritize the most vulnerable people in our state over payments to legislators. Unless a court instructs me to do otherwise," Mendoza said.

Heartland Community College
Staff / WGLT

Community colleges in Illinois said they've cut frills, suspended travel, and even laid off teachers. Now they need state lawmakers to come through with funding.

That was the gist of a letter sent last week from the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents​ to the governor and legislative leaders.


Illinois lawmakers will attempt to override vetoes from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in the coming weeks during their brief, annual fall session.

One veto lawmakers are expected to try to overturn is legislation to automatically register eligible voters when they visit certain government agencies, like the Department of Human Services and the Secretary of State. The idea passed with overwhelming bipartisan support but Rauner vetoed it in August citing concerns about fraud.

Matt Turner / Flickr

For the first time since summer, Governor Bruce Rauner and the legislature's four top leaders got together Tuesday morning.  They're set to do it again Wednesday.

Tuesday's gathering didn't last long--roughly a half an hour.  House Speaker Michael Madigan characterized the tenor as "very respectful." But, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, had a different view.

"We listened to the Speaker's comments and we're frankly confused by them," she said.

Here's the confusion. Or the dispute, anyway.

Matt Turner / Flickr

Illinois legislators' fall veto session is getting underway, and already a bipartisan split is festering.

Sunday, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said a conflict prevented him from accepting an invitation to meet with the governor Monday.


Public colleges and universities in Illinois may soon be able to furlough employees for up to three weeks.

The ongoing budget impasse has taken a toll on higher education. Regular state funding has dried up, replaced by a mere trickle of stop-gap money.


Faculty and staff are telling Illinois State University trustees they are stressed and worried about the future of the institution because of the non existent state budget.  

Heartland Community College
Staff / WGLT

Heartland Community College President Rob Widmer said HCC has received about thirty five cents on the dollar in promised state aid in the last two budget years.

The state share of HCC's budget is about ten percent of the total.

Staff / WGLT

Buses may run on diesel fuel, but it takes money to fill the tank. Late cash transfers from the State of Illinois could mean Connect Transit will have to park its buses and suspend service at the end of the year.

Matt Turner / Flickr

The Springfield utility company that provides electricity to the Illinois capitol and other government buildings says the state is finally current on its past-due bills.  

Springfield City, Water, Light and Power spokeswoman Amber Sabin says the state has paid nearly $19 million in late and current bills. Most of the money was reportedly paid in August.  

Illinois has operated without a budget for more than a year and the state has fallen behind on bill payments to vendors that provide services.  


Summer is always a quieter time on college campuses. Most students go home for a summer job or take an internship elsewhere. Faculty and staff typically have less to do on campus. Some might even leave town for a vacation. 

For three months of the year, the local businesses and industries that profit from the needs and wants of the university community adjust.