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Budget Battle Continues As Dems Try To Push Temporary Spending Measures

By aaroncynic in News on Jul 8, 2015 5:10PM

Photo Credit: Rotating Frame

As lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner continue their state budget deadlock, the Illinois House is poised to take another stab at passing a temporary one for the month.

The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a $2.2 billion temporary budget the Senate passed last week that would at least keep some government services running for the month, the Sun-Times reports

The fiscal year started July 1 with no budget, outside of education, due to an impasse between Rauner and state lawmakers. Rauner is looking to make sweeping cuts that would heavily impact social services statewide, and Democratic legislators have resisted them. The governor has said he’s unwilling to look at revenue options unless the legislature at least passes part of his “Turnaround Agenda,” which weakens labor in Illinois and hands more power over to big business forces.

Rauner has said he would veto a temporary budget based on the same reasoning he vetoed an earlier budget proposal that he said was “out of balance.”

In addition to agencies paid by the state already feeling the pinch
, state workers were hit yesterday by the lack of a budget when a Cook County judge ruled they could not be paid their full wages while the legislature dukes it out over a budget. According to the State-Journal Register, Judge Diane Larsen ruled that the Comptroller Leslie Munger can only pay workers covered under Federal labor law, who would receive the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour plus overtime.

Munger said it could take up to a year to figure out which workers would receive that wage, and while Judge Larsen was sympathetic to the plight of workers who will continue to do their jobs without a paycheck, the state constitution does not allow the comptroller to pay bills without authority or a federal mandate. Larsen said the blame lies with officials for the antiquated payment system, and Rauner and lawmakers for failing to agree.

Rauner said he would support paying state employees without a budget and he is working on drafting legislation that would allow for that. In a letter sent to employees, Rauner said “Legislators are already guaranteed their pay this month under continuing appropriations —you should be too.”