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Report: Illinois Will Face Budget Shortfall Again Next Year

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Illinois Capitol (KWMU photo)

By IL Public Radio/KWMU/AP

Springfield, Ill. – New projections show the state of Illinois will not bring in enough money next year to cover expenses.

The Economic & Fiscal Commission report says about $325 million in new dollars will come in next year. But commission co-chair Terry Parke says that doesn't even come close to the $600 million the state will have to pay on pensions.

"The pensions continue to be the biggest growth factor in our state budget," Parke said Wednesday. "And under the constitution of the state of Illinois, we cannot cut the benefits, so you have to make the payments."

The state will likely face other cost increases, as well.

Parke says lawmakers need to start cutting the budget without laying off state workers.

Disagreements among lawmakers over how to fill budget gaps forced this year's spring session to drag a record 54 days past its scheduled adjournment. Chicago Democratic State Rep. Robert Molaro says lawmakers could go into overtime in a repeat performance.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's budget office says it's too early to tell whether the state faces another deficit. The next fiscal year doesn't begin until July.

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