Get Ready For More Stalemate As Illinois Stopgap Budget Expires Sunday
By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 30, 2016 6:21PM
Many of us are eagerly looking forward to closing the books on 2016, even as we know many of the year’s problems will simply carry over into January. One of the most prominent examples is the looming expiration of Illinois’ stopgap budget, which, once it comes to pass, will likely ratchet up population-draining stalemate tensions to what we saw earlier this year while state universities and social services are forced to carry the brunt.
The stopgap budget, which was passed at the end of June to less-than-enthusiastic receptions, expires Sunday. So far the likelihood of Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan bridging the gap anytime soon thereafter looks slim. Of course, the stopgap was intended to afford both sides the necessary time, post-election, to hammer out a solution. But the factions haven’t even met since December 6; and with Rauner again facing stiff opposition to repeated attempts to gut unions’ bargaining power and slashing workers’ comp, there’s not much cause for optimism—even as the cost of the state deficit becomes scarily clear.
Due to court order, elementary and high school funding will carry on through June of next year, but that’s not the case for higher ed or human services. Both already felt the brutal pinch over the long haul, as affected groups and schools were forced to stretch 12 months of finances across 18 and dive into emergency reserves. A coalition of service providers—which includes an agency headed by Diana Rauner, wife of the governor—sued in May for finances, but the case remains in appeals.
The state legislature resumes on Jan. 9. Don't be surprised if a sense of déjà vu does also.