State Budget Crisis ContinuesSeptember 2, 2015
The worst state budget crisis in Illinois history continues. While a comprehensive 2016 spending plan has not been adopted, a combination of court orders, executive decisions, and continuing appropriations have essentially obligated 100% of anticipated revenues. The state will effectively run out of money early next year. Specifically, library grant programs are not currently funded, making it very possible that the state will not have the funds to make any grant payments for fiscal 2016.
In an attempt to prevent a shutdown, the Democratic majority attempted to pass Senate Bill 1229 over the governor's veto, a bill that would require arbitration if Governor Rauner and state workers reach an impasse in contract negotiations. While the senate voted to override the governor's veto, the Illinois House of Representatives failed to get the required supermajority, apparently due to the absence of Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-5, Chicago). While the failure to override the veto is a victory for the governor, the Democrats will feel vindicated for their efforts if a strike or lockout result in a government shutdown.
It now seems clear that the governor lacks legislative support for his agenda, and the Democrats lack the ability to enact significant legislation over the governor's veto. No negotiations are scheduled between the opposing parties and both sides seem content to allow the impasse to go on indefinitely. The senate is scheduled to be in session one day next week, but the house will not return until September 24.