SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois has now gone 11 months and 14 days without a budget.
Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s standing firm on his demand for political and fiscal reforms. And he will hold the line on his agenda, even as the epic budget stalemate nears the one year mark.
“We’ve got to stay persistent in what is right for the long term future of the people of Illinois,” he said.
In a speech to business leaders at the annual Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, he pushed his pro-business reforms demanding the legislature lower workers compensation costs, cut property taxes and reform the pension system along with his political reform goals of imposing term limits and creating competitive electoral maps.
Meantime, across town, Democratic Illinois treasurer Michael Frerichs revealed that the state loses 2.6 million dollars every month in investment income because of the ongoing state budget mess.
“This uncertainty rips money out of the pocket of every resident in the state of Illinois,” Frerichs said.
He says if nothing changes this year, Illinois could miss out on 30 million dollars in potential earnings. He says the governor’s reforms shouldn’t get in the way of the budget.
“There need to be revenues and cuts, but the governor has insisted on other agenda items as well and that’s been the real problem,” he said.
The clock is ticking. Lawmakers have about two and a half weeks until the end of the fiscal year.
On July 1st, money for schools and social services runs out.
“What I would like to see happen is our two bills be voted on,” Rauner said. “We have the short term solution to get through this crisis. Our schools should open, with a little bit more money that we can afford, and our human services and government should be funded through January.”
Currently, the best case scenario appears to be a stop-gap budget that would fund schools and essential services, to buy time as lawmakers work on a grand bargain.