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Government Shutdown Seems Inevitable As State Legislature Fails To Pass Budget

By aaroncynic in News on Jul 2, 2015 4:05PM

Photo Credit: Rotating Frame

The Illinois House failed to pass a temporary budget that would’ve kept the government going for a short time yesterday, after Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers could not come to an agreement on a state budget before the July 1 deadline.

With the state now in its second day of the new fiscal year without a budget and the governor and legislators still butting heads, a shutdown is nearly inevitable, and already some programs and people are feeling the heat.

Metropolitan Family Services, which serves some 67,000 people in the city and suburbs, had to begin refusing services for some of the mentally disabled individuals the agency serves, according to CBS2. It was one of some 300 non-profit organizations that signed on to a letter delivered to Rauner, House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and other legislators earlier this week calling on the state legislature to keep vital social services funded.

“Without a fully funded budget in place by July 1st, the children and adults who rely on the services many of our organizations provide, as well as those services provided directly by the state, will ultimately be the ones who shoulder the consequences,” the letter reads.

“Politicians in Springfield are choosing gridlock,” said Neal Waltmire of the Responsible Budget Coalition, who delivered the letter. “If you have HIV or AIDS and go to have your prescription refilled, you’re likely to have your medication denied.” Waltmire told CLTV's Politics Tonight that Mujeres Latinas en Acción, a non-profit in Pilsen that provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, has already had to lay off nine staff.

“Organizations like ours have become political pawns in this fight,” Maria Pesqueira, who runs the organization, told ABC7.

Rauner opposed the temporary budget proposed by Madigan and its counterpart that passed the Senate yesterday. Tim Nuding, director of the governor's budget office, told the Tribune:

"This bill marches the taxpayers of Illinois toward an unbalanced budget one month at a time. This proposal, viewed on an annual basis, is little, if any, improvement over the out-of-balance, unconstitutional budget the legislature passed just a few weeks ago."

State Democrats however, say that the governor and Republicans have failed to compromise on their proposals.

“Despite the governor's lack of cooperation on the budget, in the spirit of compromise, the House has debated several non-budget issues and given each a fair hearing,” said Speaker Madigan in a statement released yesterday after the temporary budget failed. “The property tax freeze, including the governor's own proposal, received five chances to pass. Each time, the issue received little support from House Republicans… My focus remains on passing a budget that takes a balanced approach and includes spending reductions and revenue to preserve the services that the people of Illinois expect the state to deliver."