Illinois Budget Impasse

Facebook/Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University will lay off workers to cope with an Illinois budget impasse that has reduced state funding.  The university announced it will eliminate about 180 full-time jobs in the coming weeks.  Interim President Richard Helldobler says 130 of those who will receive layoff notices are civil service employees. The remainder will be administrative professionals.

William Johnson / Creative Commons


A federal judge appeared conflicted over whether the Illinois state government should prioritize Medicaid payments — possibly at the expense of schools, pensions and payroll payments — during the ongoing budget impasse.

Two years ago, Judge Joan Lefkow ordered the state must pay Medicaid providers even though it is operating without a budget. The state is now virtually out of money — its backlog of bills has grown beyond $14.2 billion — and Medicaid service providers said the state isn’t paying them fast enough. 


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate's "grand bargain" budget compromise comes down to three pieces of legislation.  

Facebook/Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University officials say cuts and deferred maintenance will be necessary to save money as the school faces a $35 million funding gap from the lack of a state budget.  University President Doug Baker says the school must prepare for a worst-case scenario until the next fiscal year.

The continuing lack of a state budget in Illinois is affecting upkeep and repairs at Illinois state parks.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal visited Olson Lake in Rock Cut State Park on Tuesday. The lake was closed last month due to reduced water quality. Rosenthal promised to dredge the lake near Rockford but offered no timetable and said his department has an $800 million backlog of deferred maintenance expenses. He said the source of the problem is the lack of a budget.

Transit Agency Sues Comptroller

Apr 3, 2017

Another lawsuit stemming from the Illinois budget impasse could have a big effect on transit agencies outside the Chicago area.  For two bucks you can ride a River Valley Metro bus from Bourbonnais to Midway Airport.  But Rob Hoffman who runs the Transit District says that service has been reduced and the buses need an upgrade.

Illinois has entered its 22nd month without a real budget.  Among the state services most affected by the political fight are those that help victims of domestic violence.  Illinois doesn’t spend a lot of money fighting domestic violence, it’s way less than a tenth of a percent of the state budget. But since last summer, it’s spent nothing.

NEIU Students Rally to Protest Budget Cuts

Mar 16, 2017

Students at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago rallied today ahead of a week-long university shutdown.

Northeastern is requiring its employees take five unpaid days off next week during Spring Break. It’s another money-saving measure in a string of budget cuts the university has made during the nearly 2-year-long state budget impasse.

Students like senior Patricia Burchfield primarily blamed Governor Bruce Rauner, saying she shouldn’t have to be protesting.

Chicago's Civic Federation has laid out a map to lead Illinois out of the fiscal abyss.  The non-partisan government research organization says Illinois’ biggest problem is state government’s failure to pass a budget for going on two years.

Paul Coussens

After 19 months without a state budget, Illinois senators today were not yet ready to move forward on a compromise plan intended to end the impasse.  Democrats and Republicans spent hours behind closed doors, arguing about whether the deal negotiated by their leaders was good enough to end Illinois’ unprecedented budget fight.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate plans to plow ahead with its proposed budget compromise to end the nearly 2-year-old deadlock with Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Colleges and universities are again deciding whether to front grant money to low-income students who are supposed to be receiving state aid as Illinois' budget remains uncertain.
A survey recently released by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission suggests some schools that covered grants in the fall aren't guaranteeing to this spring. The commission administers the grants through the Monetary Award Program.

Prospects For Budget Deal Still Dim

Dec 2, 2016

Illinois residents are once again facing the prospect of having their elected leaders not agree on a state budget. Illinois Public Radio's Tony Arnold reports.

After a full year without a budget - it looks like the state is heading in that direction again.


Governor Bruce Rauner is demanding term limits and a property tax freeze BEFORE a budget.


Flickr Creative Commons/ilovebutter

In the midst of a continuing state budget impasse, the University of Illinois has seen an increase in the number of faculty members leaving for other campuses. University President Timothy Killeen says there’s cause for concern, but there’s no crisis.  

Flickr Creative Commons/Daniel X. O'Neil

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders in the Illinois Legislature have begun meetings to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal.  Democratic state Senate President John Cullerton says offers and counteroffers have been exchanged.

The nonprofit organization run by the Democratic wife of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has sued the first-term Republican amid the state's unprecedented budget impasse.


The awkward situation has raised eyebrows and drawn a few jabs about Diana Rauner's twin roles as first lady to the state's first GOP governor in over a decade and as a longtime social services advocate in the Democratic state.


Even in a normal year - getting an Illinois state budget approved is complicated. But this is no normal year. On top of that, lawmakers have just a week left to get it all done.

Given that lawmakers never approved a budget last year, they now  have not one, but two state spending plans to finish up a budget for last year - and a budget for NEXT year.

That means figuring out where to make cuts, and maybe where and how much to raise taxes.

Illinois superintendents warned of school closures and staff layoffs as they implored state lawmakers to pass a budget to give them certainty for the fall. 

College students press for more higher ed funding

Apr 20, 2016

College student Jaclyn Smith says the state budget impasse is not only affecting her, it's affecting her unborn child.  Smith... who is six-months pregnant... has been attending Western Illinois University on low-income tuition grants the state pays for. But she says she'll have to quit school if the state doesn't start funding MAP grants again.

Munger moves to delay lawmakers' pay

Apr 18, 2016

The lack of an Illinois state budget is playing out in the race for state comptroller - who is the person in control of the state’s checkbook.

Illinois’ government has not had a budget in nearly 10 months.

Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger says finances are so tight - she’s going to delay paying Illinois elected officials.

She’s not stopping payments to them - just putting them in line with groups like social services - that the state is also late in paying.

NPR Illinois/Rachel Otwell

Survivors of sexual assault and rape have fewer resources as a result of the state's budget impasse. Across Illinois, service providers are having to stop or limit counseling, legal advice and other ways of helping victims.

The Prairie Center Against Sexual Abuse serves 11 counties in central Illinois ... and every year it helps over 500 people ... men, women, children and the elderly:

Illinois community colleges receive $23 million from the federal government to provide adult education classes that help people pass the GED test. But to continue receiving those funds, the state has to kick in $32 million, and prove its programs work, by showing results.

Because there is no budget, the state hasn't contributed its portion this year.Karen Hunter Anderson, president of the Illinois Community College Board, says that without that money, the programs haven't performed as well.

Illinois Democrats approved a $3.9 billion bill to fund colleges and various social service programs while the state operates without a budget.  But their plan is expected to be rejected by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Many Illinois community colleges and universities will not cover low-income tuition waivers in the fall, unless they get state money.


That's the message from higher education leaders to the state's 125,000 students who are eligible for the monetary assistance program, or MAP, grants.

Public colleges and universities that have so far covered the cost for MAP students are sounding the alarm that they may not continue.

Illinois Senators Pass Spending Bill As Budget Impasse Continues

Mar 18, 2016

Illinois senators voted along party lines Thursday on legislation that would spend $3.8 billion dollars to fund higher education and human services.

U of I faculty look to leave

Mar 17, 2016

University of Illinois administrators are warning legislators that leading faculty are already looking for positions elsewhere amid a 9-month state budget impasse.  

"Here and Now," WBUR

As Illinois continues without a budget for this fiscal year ... Governor Bruce Rauner yestrday tried to sell lawmakers on a plan for the future. However, the state's leading Democrats aren't buying.

Rauner laid out choices. His preferred one looks a lot like what he's been saying all along: legislators should adopt his controversial pro-business, union-weakening agenda. THEN he'll work to raise taxes that could stave off deep cuts.

Democrats have refused to go along, and House Speaker Michael Madigan says that hasn't changed

Todd Pilon, WTVP

Governor Bruce Rauner's budget speech today largely avoided specifics about state spending. Instead, he's still arguing Illinois should be more favorable to business. Brian Mackey has more.

Rauner took pains to portray himself as open to working with majority Democrats -- he used the word "compromise" five times. But the governor is standing by his overall strategy: pro-business laws first, then we can balance the budget.

"I won’t support new revenue unless we have major structural reforms to grow more jobs and get more value for taxpayers."

With Governor Bruce Rauner set to make his budget address Wednesday … interest groups are already lining up to make the case for state funding.
Today, backers of higher education pointed out that Illinois has not funded colleges and universities since last summer. It’s also failed to pay for grants to thousands of low-income students.
Lynn Fisher is president of the faculty union at the University of Illinois Springfield. She says students at some schools will be on the hook for the unfunded grants.

Chicago Public School's fiscal problems continue. Meanwhile, some universities are trying to figure out how to keep their doors open without state funding. 

For this week’s Past Due, Jamey Dunn sat down with Sean Crawford to give an update about the budget impact on education in Illinois.