Last Day For Lawmakers To Reach Budget Agreement

CHICAGO (CBS) – Lawmakers in Springfield are racing against the clock on Friday morning.

If the General Assembly cannot reach a budget agreement by midnight, Illinois will start a third fiscal year without a budget.

CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli has a look at what is means for road construction projects and so much more.

No other state in the union has ever gone longer than nine months without a budget. Illinois, of course, as of midnight tonight could enter its third year without one.

If no budget is hammered out by midnight, hundreds of projects will be forced to come to a halt putting more than 20,000 people out of work.

“That means jobs get shut down,” said Mike Sturino, Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association. “There are over 900 active job sites throughout the state of Illinois, many right here in the Chicago region. There’s going to be a great number of employees who are going to be going home and not getting paid. And for the motoring public what is means is that what they thought would be a pretty timely conclusion to roadwork is going to stretch out until they have a budget deal.”

The shutdown will cost the state more than $340-million a week in costs and lost productivity if it becomes a prolonged shutdown. The Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association say more than 40,000 jobs are in jeopardy as the shutdown ripples through the construction-related economy.

And it is not just construction. Higher education will also be affected. Without a budget, universities will not be able to offer financial aid to students and may need to lay off even more workers. Shelters for the homeless and victims of domestic violence are among the many social service agencies that have been forced to close their doors or reduce services. The state lottery may no longer be able to pay out winnings, and multistate games like Powerball may be forced to drop Illinois, costing the state $250,000 a day.

The state may become the first in U.S. history to have its credit rating reduced to “junk.”

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said the two-year impasse is a result of Governor Rauner’s unwillingness to compromise.

“This should have been done two years ago,” he said. “This never should have happened. It could have been done two years ago, so if people are reasonable it can be done.”

The state’s Democratic comptroller took to YouTube to highlight Illinois’ unprecedented backlog of bills.

“Over the last two years our bill backlog has more than tripled. As you probably know, the state of Illinois owes its vendors more than $15-billion and owes an obscene amount of over $800-billion of late payment interest penalties on the bills,” said Illinois Comptroller, Susana Mendoza.

Now Governor Rauner wants to freeze local property taxes, change worker compensation laws and in the view of democrats, weaken unions. He said if no budget deal is agreed on Friday, he will order lawmakers to stay in session in order to get it done, but that also comes at a cost – $48,000 a day, for every day lawmakers stay in session.

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