City governments across Illinois are asking to have their state funding put on autopilot. It’s the latest consequence of Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate. The money in question comes from taxes on gasoline, phone bills, and gambling. It's collected by the state and passed along to local governments. That is, unless the powers that be never agree on a budget.
Mark Eckert is the mayor of Belleville. He describes the early day of the impasse, when Illinois fell months behind on the payments. “In my city, we had several, numerous projects that had to be stopped." He says that affected not only construction jobs: “... but also the ongoing work that’s necessary to keep your city being where business wants to be."
Cities are doing OK now. A full year of funding was included in last summer’s so-called stopgap budget. But that still needs to be renewed every year, and mayors say they could do with a little less suspense.