State Budget | WGLT

State Budget

Education Focus Of Income Inequality Discussion

Feb 29, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Income inequality is affecting education in K-12 schools. Dr. Frank Beck, who is a Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University says students who worry about issues at home can lose focus in the classroom.

Governor Bruce Rauner has promoted his school-funding plan across the state. He says Democratic attempts to change the school funding formula are a Chicago school bailout. Some Democrats level the same charge against's Rauner’s proposed takeover of Chicago Public Schools.

District 87 Schools

The District 87 school board recently passed a $10 million working cash fund bond to make up for the lack of certainty over money coming from the state. Superintendent Barry Reilly says the interest could be in the neighborhood of $200,000.

Illinois Lawmakers / Illinois Public Media

Governor Bruce Rauner's budget speech largely avoided specifics about state spending. Instead, he's still arguing Illinois should be more favorable to business. 

Rauner took pains to portray himself as open to working with majority Democrats -- he used the word "compromise" five times.

Governor Bruce Rauner has spent more than a year promoting his business-friendly, anti-union Turnaround Agenda. Now a group of community organizations and labor unions are offering a counterproposal. They call it the People's Agenda.

Amisha Patel, with the Grassroots Collaborative, says investment in communities would help the Illinois economy grow. "A rising tide lifts all boats. But, the Governor has been draining the pool. It's time to pursue a different path and put people back on the agenda," she said.

Jim Browne / WGLT

Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced proposals he says would help shrink Illinois government and its costs. The proposals include legislation allowing voters to decide whether to dissolve units of local government.

The Republican publicized four bills Friday in Naperville. Officials there are considering merging road-maintenance services with a township. Three bills are aimed at making township consolidation easier with specific plans for Evanston and DuPage County. The other allows voters to petition for a referendum.

Steven Depolo / Flickr

Money keeps state government going. From services to employee paychecks. So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover? Comptroller Leslie Munger says she is asked often if the state could run out of money.

Munger says, "Every single day we run out of money. We pay as much as we can on that given day and then we have to wait for the next day. So when we make decisions about how to pay our bills, we are looking at today do we pay foster care or do we send the education payment?"

Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

State budget cuts could close the National Guard Armory in Delavan. Governor Rauner's office has included the armory in a list of cuts. When students at the high school in the Tazewell County Village heard that, they decided to mount a letter writing campaign. A group of high school students will deliver the packages, letters, drawings, and other materials to Governor Bruce Rauner's office Friday.

Staff Sgt Lealan Bueher / Illinois Air National Guard

Many lawmakers are praising Governor Rauner's state of the state speech for its shift in rhetoric to more conciliatory tones. But, Democrats note there was little actual movement on the governor's turnaround agenda.

Brian Mackey / IPR

Gov. Bruce Rauner is repeating his call for changes he says will make Illinois more competitive. The Republican gave his second State of the State speech Wednesday. He says Illinois should be leading the country in economic growth but ``we are losing the race for good paying jobs.'' Rauner says the key is to pass pro-business legislation that he's been pushing for more than a year. They include changes to workers' compensation and freezing property taxes. The agenda items are the center of a stalemate over the state budget that's approaching its eighth month.

Staff Sgt Lealan Bueher / Illinois Air National Guard

Wednesday Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his second annual state of the state address. If you're curious about what Rauner will say, you're not alone. So is Senate President John Cullerton.


Seven months into the year without an Illinois state budget, there's no sign things are changing. But, State Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington says in this conversation with Charlie Schlenker that after a year in office Brady's fellow Republican, Governor Bruce Rauner has taken the right course.


One of the many painful parts of the state budget deadlock has been the uncertainty over state support for low income people attending college, so called MAP funding. Universities have floated that commitment so far.  It's unclear whether that continue. Some colleges and universities have said it cannot.

Brian Mackey / IPR

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says he backs a top Democrat's proposed pension overhaul as long as it includes a union-weakening provision on collective bargaining. Rauner told reporters Thursday that he spoke to Senate President John Cullerton and they agreed to move forward. But Cullerton says Rauner misrepresented their conversations.

Steven Vance / Flickr


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he knows why General Electric decided NOT to move its corporate headquarters to Chicago. Rauner says G-E wanted to move to Chicago for its access to O’Hare Airport, the area universities, and the city’s cultural diversity. And it wanted out of Connecticut - a state like Illinois in that it’s also been struggling with its finances and state pensions.


Illinois' nine public university presidents say in a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders that a failure to approve a budget soon could leave higher education damaged beyond repair. The letter says funds that have allowed several universities and community colleges to remain open through seven months of Fiscal year 2016 will soon run out and may result in closings. Officials of Chicago State University have said the school will run out of money in March.  

Bloomington School Board Seeks To Fill Vacancies

Jan 13, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Disctrict 87 School Board is looking for two new school board members. John Dirks resigned last month. Judith Webster announced her resignation Wednesday. Speaking of Webster, School Board President Jennifer Sedbrook said she has a passion for the arts. "Getting students involved in art and dance and drama and band, she was very committed to that. And that was a voice that was very helpful to have on the board."


The social service agency PATH in Bloomington Normal will be able to keep its doors open for a few months in spite of the ongoing budget stalemate. Karen Zangerle directs Providing Access To Help.

MAP Grants May Be Victim of Budget Impasse

Jan 11, 2016

The state recently released a survey showing that many colleges won’t credit MAP grants for low-income students this spring semester. But those Monetary Award Program students aren’t the only ones whose grants have gone away.

When a police officer, firefighter or prison guard is killed or disabled in the line of duty, the state promises to provide their dependents with a college education.  But the budget impasse has put that promise on hold, says Eric Zarnikow, director of the Student Assistance Commission.

Brian Mackey / IPR

New figures from Republican Governor Bruce Rauner's administration outline just how deep Illinois' deficit is, as the state's in is seventh month without a budget. Even without a budget in place, Illinois is spending million more than last year. Despite the fact that Illinois' taking in less revenue -- the income tax rate rolled back at the start of 2015.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois won't help Chicago Public Schools avert a financial "disaster" unless Mayor Rahm Emanuel starts pushing some of the Republican governor's legislative agenda. Rauner says he won't change that position even if CPS begins laying off thousands of teachers.  

CPS faces a $1 billion budget shortfall, due largely to increasing pension payments. Emanuel wants state lawmakers to change how pensions are funded to reduce CPS' costs and make the system more equitable for Chicago taxpayers.  

Barickman on the Senate floor

Democratic Lawmakers and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner have each been unwilling to give enough to reach a budget deal over the last six months. When and how the deadlock can be broken depends on pressure.

In this interview with Charlie Schlenker GOP State Senator Jason Barickman who represents part of Bloomington-Normal says both sides are losing, as is the state.

LongitudeLatitude / Flickr

Come Friday,  when the New Year begins, 237 new laws will be in effect in Illinois – about half of those that passed during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s first term. But the state is still without a budget as Rauner and lawmakers fight over a handful more.

WIU Board to Delay Decision on Budget Cuts

Dec 21, 2015

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees will wait until next month to vote on a massive budget cutting plan.  In a letter issued Tuesday to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said he wants more time to come up with a proposal that threatens the livelihood of fewer people.

“When I look at the personnel, it almost brings tears to my eyes to look at what we’re having to do here,” Dr. Thomas said in an interview with Tri States Public Radio.

Illinois is a rare state that does not tax retirement income.  No politician has openly called for starting to, but it's an option. The nonpartisan Civic Federation recommends it as a way to stabilize the state's finances, especially as the number of senior citizens living in Illinois is projected to grow. 

But that also means the number of elderly voters will rise.  The AARP's Bob Gallo says seniors don't want their pensions and social security taxed.

Rauner Needles Madigan Over Meeting

Dec 18, 2015

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says that's inaccurate and that Rauner gave no proof to back that claim. Brown says the governor's office had been warned days before that Madigan had a conflict, and could have rescheduled.

Rauner says the recent meeting was productive, but talks did not include the budget. School funding, pension debt, and Rauner's so-called "Turnaround Agenda" were the topics.

The Governor and lawmakers went seven months without getting together, but have met three times in as many weeks.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner and the legislative leaders went half a year without all getting together. They met Thursday for the third time in as many weeks. But a major player was missing.

The private meeting in the governor's office lasted an hour and 40 minutes. Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno says it was a good meeting.

"We are still talking about the same issues we've been talking about; we'll be digging in a little deeper on pensions and workers' comp. We also talked about redistricting reform, term limits."

Even with all of its fiscal troubles ... Illinois will have to put nearly 8 billion dollars into its retirement systems next year -- that's a quarter of the state's expected revenue.  Legislative leaders and the governor may be ready to talk about how they may be able to reduce costs. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports.

Even with all of its fiscal troubles ... Illinois will have to put nearly 8 billion dollars into its retirement systems next year -- that's a quarter of the state's expected revenue.  Legislative leaders and the governor may be ready to talk about how they may be able to reduce costs. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports.

Illinois Lottery

The Illinois Lottery will resume paying out big prizes, thanks to a partial budget just signed into law. But that won't be enough to end a class-action lawsuit.  IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports: