CHICAGO Dec 30 Illinois is poised to re-enter a
budgetary limbo on Sunday with the expiration of temporary
spending authority for the state's cash-strapped universities
and fraying human services network.
Political feuding between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner
and Democrats who control the state legislature has left the
nation's fifth-largest state without a full-year operating
budget for 18 months.
The impasse eased last June when both sides agreed to a
six-month funding fix, but that stopgap lapses on Sunday and
budget talks have broken down.
Despite the impending funding stop, some services are
unlikely to be disrupted. These include public schools, prisons,
healthcare for the poor and court-ordered services for the
disabled and for wards of the state. Also expected to continue
are payments for debt service and pensions.
But grants for needy college students and funding for public
universities will cease, forcing students like Tamia Polk, a
20-year-old psychology major at Illinois Institute of Technology
in Chicago, to agree to make payments of $250 per month while
her $5,000 Monetary Award Program grant goes unpaid by the
"In college you're already stressed about classes and
things, but there's this other factor of not getting the money I
was promised and the school is not allowing me to register
unless I sign up for a payment plan I can't pay for," said Polk,
who holds two part-time jobs and is two semesters from
Additionally, private vendors who offer mental health
services, addiction treatment, in-home care for the elderly and
breast and cervical cancer screenings, among other things, will
stop receiving state reimbursements after Sunday.
Since taking office in January 2015, Rauner has refused to
approve a budget unless the legislature agrees to pass a
business-friendly package that would make it harder for injured
workers to be compensated, freeze property taxes, impose
legislative term limits and weaken collective bargaining rights
for union members.
But Democrats have stymied Rauner at every turn.
"Dismantling collective bargaining rights in this state is a
non-starter for Democrats," said state Representative Greg
Harris, a Chicago Democrat whom Democratic House Speaker Michael
Madigan has anointed as his budget point person.
But a Rauner aide insisted no spending deal could be struck
"Members of the majority will face a clear choice when they
return to Springfield: reach a bipartisan balanced budget with
reforms or support Speaker Madigan's status quo of crisis and
higher taxes without any reforms to our broken system," Rauner
spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said.
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)