Ill. Attorney General Asks Court To Block State Payroll, To Spur Budget Deal

(CBS) – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed court papers that could mean state employees would stop getting paid until there is a state budget.

Months ago, a St. Clair County court ordered the state to keep paying workers, even without a budget. Now, Madigan is trying to overturn that order, effective at the end of February.

The court order has “removed much of the urgency for the Legislature and the Governor to act on a budget,” she says.

“With a new legislative session now underway, this is an appropriate time to ask the Circuit Court to reconsider this order in light of the changes in the law.”

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has been at odds with the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly over spending plans, though “stopgap” budgets have been hammered out. Cash-strapped Illinois government is billions of dollars behind in paying its bills.

The Illinois Senate recently has been working on a package of state budget bills as a potential compromise with Rauner. He has demanded broader reforms in state government before he’ll approve new revenue sources, including tax or fee increases.

The governor’s office has said it is disappointing to see the attorney general make this move as the Senate is on the verge of a possible long-term budget deal that would include some of the pro-business reforms he has sought.

“I hope this is not a direct attempt to cause a crisis to force a shutdown of the government, to force another stopgap spending plan — short-term, unbalanced, incomplete — as a step to force a tax hike without any changes to our broken system. I hope that’s not what this is. I hope the attorney general will reconsider. This is going to hurt working families, the good hard-working employees of Illinois, who deserve to be paid,” Rauner said Friday morning at a chamber of commerce breakfast.

Lisa Madigan, a former state senator, is the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, who is considered the governor’s chief political nemesis.

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