Illinois budget | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois budget

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois legislators will come back to Springfield for a special session in order to work out a budget deal, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday in an attempt to end an impasse that's approaching its third year and running up the state's deficit. 

The Republican governor's announcement, done via a Facebook video and statement, came the same day that the multi-state lottery association overseeing Powerball and Mega Millions games will leave Illinois by the end of this month if there is no budget. 

Provided | Southwestern Illinois College

Eight full-time and 39 part-time employees of Southwestern Illinois College will lose their jobs in July after its board of trustees approved the cuts Wednesday.

Another 19 administrative positions at the Metro East community college are also being eliminated in July, in a plan trustees approved in March.

SIU System president Randy Dunn
File photo | Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 11 with approval — The trustees of Southern Illinois University have approved a loan of up to $35 million from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville to support its Carbondale campus.

The board of the university system approved the plan Wednesday after delaying a vote last month.

There was another setback Wednesday for efforts to end Illinois' budget stalemate.

Senate Democrats attempted a series of test votes on items in the so-called “grand bargain.” But Republicans refused to go along, saying more negotiation is needed to reach a deal they can support.

Collinsville pitcher Ryan Siverly tries to apply a tag on O'Fallon's Jacob Dryer in a high school baseball game Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Collinsville, Illinois. Players at both schools have to pay a fee to play sports.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Several Metro East school superintendents are among the 413 public school leaders who are calling on Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-majority legislature to pass a budget after nearly two years of disagreements, and fully fund public education.

A hand distributing cash with a dialogue box.
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Four school districts in Madison County are on Illinois State Board of Education’s financial watch list for having low cash reserves and a high debt ratio.

The Alton, Bethalto, Edwardsville and Triad  districts earned the state’s lowest financial ranking based on their spending in fiscal year 2016.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to Republican supporters in East Alton on April 12, 2017.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner made a stop Wednesday in East Alton as part of a statewide push against the state’s epic budget impasse, which has led to underfunding of social services in the Metro East.

 

The Republican’s re-election campaign paid for the tour, which comes more than a year before he’s up for another term in 2018. He expressed frustration to the crowd of primarily GOP activists about how he hasn’t been able to reach a budget deal with Democratic-controlled legislature for nearly two years.

In the study he led, Washington University researcher Darrell Hudson found the men in his focus groups were more than willing to discuss their experiences with racism and issues related to mental health.
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

A central Illinois center for addiction treatment will stay open for now, despite payment delays during the state’s ongoing budget crisis. After two years without a permanent budget, the state is facing a backlog of $12.6 billion in unpaid bills to state employees, contractors and agencies.

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

The Illinois Senate’s so-called grand bargain was put on hold Wednesday. After months of negotiations and a deadline from their own caucus leader, Senate Republicans say they aren't quite ready to vote.

Democrats blame the last-minute withdrawal on interference by Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his third budget address Wednesday at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. There has been no state budget since July 2015. 

Reporters and editors from WBEZ, WTTW, and NPR Illinois annotated Rauner's address with fact-checks and analysis. 

Fair St. Louis is happening in Forest Park this weekend.
Fair St. Louis Foundation

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed some of the top news stories.

Topics included the Illinois budget negotiations as well as this weekend’s Fair Saint Louis in Forest Park.

We were joined by:

Metro East Redeploy staff member Mollie Hente with client Leah at a poster making group for awareness to fund Redeploy. Hente learned last week that she is being laid off.
Provided by Mark Smith of Children's Home and Aid

A social service agency making cuts in the Metro East due to lack of state funding says even if Illinois legislators pass a stop-gap budget this week it won’t be enough to reverse the damage to its finances.

Children’s Home and Aid notified another nine Metro East employees last week that they were being laid off.

Their departure reduces the number of teens the agency’s programs for at-risk youth are able to serve, adding to the almost one million people the United Way estimates have lost access to social services in Illinois this year during the state budget stalemate.

Bill Kreeb, president and CEO of Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, and Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, public health administrator at the East Side Health District.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Updated 12:00 p.m., April 7 with news of more layoffs — Metro East social service agency Lessie Bates Neighborhood House says it can't afford to continue offering in-home care to 300 seniors from the East St. Louis area.  

If the state is unable to find another agency to provide in-home care, the seniors could have to move into nursing homes when Lessie Bates temporarily closes its in-home care program at the end of the month.

Lessie Bates is also laying off 117 employees who work in the program. 

Gambling revenue from the Casino Queen is a major source of revenue for the city of East St. Louis.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Cash-strapped East St. Louis has received an overdue gift from the state just in time for the holidays: $2.5 million worth of back taxes from the Illinois gaming board.

Normally East St. Louis receives a portion of gaming revenue spent at the Casino Queen on a monthly basis. But until Illinois passed a partial budget earlier this month, the state comptroller’s office didn’t have the authority to release the funds.

Bill Kreeb, president and CEO of Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, and Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, public health administrator at the East Side Health District.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

It has officially been 100 days without a budget in Illinois, said Amanda Vinicky, statehouse bureau chief at Illinois Public Radio. But the impasse between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature predates that.

Rauner is the first Republican in the governor’s mansion in over a decade. He won election with a business-friendly, budget-balancing agenda and the quest to right the Illinois government’s past wrongs.

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

Illinois has yet to pass a state budget, and an East St. Louis health-care facility is facing layoffs and other tough decisions as a result.

The East Side Health District, which provides services to area residents, could lay off up to 30 workers, (an amount totaling up to two-thirds of the staff) and may end up closing altogether if it does not receive state funding soon.  

Flickr | Taber Andrew Bain

July 1 marked the official start of a new fiscal year, and the state of Illinois is without a working budget for most state services.

For now things seem to be in a holding pattern in the Metro East. Illinois State Troopers based in Collinsville are reporting to work and expect to get paid as normal. Cahokia Mounds remains open on its reduced Wednesday through Sunday schedule.

But many area service providers are on pins and needles as they wait to see if and when they’ll get reimbursed.

Worker at one of Community Link's workshops for adults with developmental disabilities.
courtesy Community Link

Social service agencies that provide support to thousands of people in the Metro East will be operating without state funding starting Wednesday if Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner can’t reach a budget compromise before the start of the new fiscal year.

Funding for most state programs, including child care subsidies and early intervention for children with developmental disabilities, have yet to be approved.

Fairview Heights resident Laycee Thigpen discusses the impact budget cost-cutting measures would have on her ability to afford child care.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Several Illinois Democratic lawmakers again called on Republican Governor Bruce Rauner to break an impasse and compromise on a budget plan that doesn't hurt the middle class, all before a July 1 deadline.

The columns at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

State higher education funding per full time student has dropped more than 26 percent in Missouri and increased almost 50 percent in Illinois over the past five years, according to data compiled by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

The stark contrast between the states is due in part to an almost 29 percent variance in enrollment trends; Missouri enrollment has gone up while Illinois enrollment has gone down.

But Illinois Higher Education Director James Applegate said his state has also drastically increased its higher education funding in order to pay pension shortfalls.

(WUIS Radio)

Illinois' new Republican governor is calling for deep spending cuts to address a state budget billions in the red without raising taxes.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said during his first budget address Wednesday that Illinois has been living beyond its means.

Illinois Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner shakes the hand of a diner at Red Apple Family Restaurant in Maryville, Ill. on January 10, 2015.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

With the countdown to inauguration day down to two, Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner stepped into Red Apple Family Restaurant in the Metro East Saturday with a Carhartt jacket on his back and a smile on his face.

The discerning eye could note a silver Illinois-shaped pin stuck to the lapel of the tan work coat.

The crowded red-roofed eatery in the village of Maryville was the Republican’s first stop Saturday—the second day of his pre-inauguration tour.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

No one says the $35.7 billion 2015 budget approved by the Illinois Legislature late last week is balanced. As the Belleville News Democrat reported, “Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Senate budget negotiator, described the plan as ‘incomplete’ but the best lawmakers could do this session.

kevindooley via Flickr

Despite years of cuts to the Illinois state budget, even more are ahead.  Legislators are still deciding where else they can slash spending.

"Human services" is a legislative phrase that covers many departments and services, according to Representative Greg Harris.

"All the state departments  dealing with health care, senior services, children services, so the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Medicaid, human services, mental health, substance abuse, Department of Aging, DCFS, public health and veterans," said Harris.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky.

In his annual budget address today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn laid the blame on the General Assembly for forcing him to cut spending on schools and other key state priorities. Quinn says the cost of pensions is "squeezing" Illinois' finances, to the point that he's calling for a $400 million hit to education.

(Read the full text of the governor's prepared remarks

Illinois officials say Gov. Pat Quinn has decided three state facilities helping former prison inmates transition into society will remain open, a reversal of plans to close them because of budget constraints.
 
Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Stacey Solano said Monday the governor plans to keep the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center open. Kelly Kraft of Quinn's budget office also said the Peoria and Chicago's North Lawndale adult transition centers were also saved.

The Illinois budget news just keeps getting worse.

The auditor general says the overall state budget deficit passed the $43 billion mark last year.

Five years earlier, the deficit was less than $19 billion.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Guards charged with assault for inmate fight

Two guards at the medium security jail in St. Louis City are facing burglary and assault charges for allegedly arranging to have one inmate at the workhouse beat up another.

(via Flickr/AnneH632)

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

Illinois lawmakers will take a shot today at passing a massive overhaul of the state's pension system.

It's a move permitted by a surprise decision last night by House Speaker Michael Madigan, who handed control of the measure over to the top Republican in the House, Tom Cross.

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