CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a race against the clock in Springfield, with lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner facing a midnight deadline to reach a deal on the state budget so no state services are interrupted.
Wednesday is the start of a new fiscal year, and Rauner has vetoed the vast majority of Democratic lawmakers’ budget plan, which was nearly $4 billion short on revenue. The only part of the budget the governor approved was an increase in spending on education.
Rauner’s own budget proposal in February was $2.2 billion out of balance.
Without a new spending plan in place by Wednesday, the state has no authority to pay bills, including salaries for some 65,000 state workers. The first payroll of the next fiscal year is July 15, so there is some time to find a compromise before employees start missing paychecks.
“I want to make darn sure you guys are paid, you guys are paid on time, you don’t miss any payroll, and you’re paid 100 percent of your salary, not some lesser amount,” Rauner told a group of state employees at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in Springfield on Tuesday. “It’s going to be a stressful time for your families. I apologize for that. We’re going to try to minimize the stress on your families. We’re going to allow you to do your work.”
The governor sent a memo to workers, saying they’ll be paid even if the deadlock continues, but Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the state cannot write checks without an approved budget. Unions representing state employees have said they’re prepared to take legal action to force the state to pay its workers.