Local Government Leaders Fear Continuing Budget Stalemate

CHICAGO (CBS) — Local Government leaders say the continuing budget stalemate in Springfield is worsening the situation for officials–and residents–all around the state.

They fear what could happen next.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the state’s budget impasse is not just hurting Illinois’ credit rating, and threatening state services and higher education. It is having a major impact on local government and their programs.

“Whether we are talking about local units of government or social service agencies that have done good work on behalf of the state, historically, and have been paid for that good work or our public higher education institutions were all challenged by the fact that we don’t have a budget,” Preckwinkle said.

“At the end of April, the state owed us $140-million, at the end of May they owned us $170-million that fluctuates from one month to the next, but it’s quite difficult for local units of government to manage their finances when the state is such a deadbeat.”

Of course the city of Chicago is affected and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, not surprisingly, places the blame of Governor Bruce Rauner.

“We did not have $15 billion of unpaid bills until he showed up,” Emanuel said.

Emanuel suggests the problems could be settled if Governor Rauner was willing to say ‘yes’ to things that are good for everyone.

“The Governor has been given the chance to get 90 percent, like on education, of things that he likes, and he says he is going to veto the bill. He has to figure out how to compromise with people,” Emanuel said.

But the Governor said Democrats are unwilling to say ‘yes’ to things that can turn the state around.

In a statement, the Governor said he supports equitable funding for schools statewide, including Chicago. But he said, Chicago’s leaders continue to push legislation that singles out its public schools at the expense of others.

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