CHICAGO (CBS) — A renowned political expert has warned the two-year budget impasse in Illinois might not end until after the next election for governor in 2018.
University of Illinois at Springfield political science professor emeritus Kent Redfield said the damage from the budget stalemate has been nearly incalculable.
“Some of it is not just long-term, but it’s irreversible,” he said.
Redfield said a lot of knowledgeable people in Springfield believe Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers won’t settle on a state budget before the next election in 2018.
“It’s very, very difficult to be both in campaign mode; and then be trying to put together the kind of negotiation, compromise, sharing of the pain, and extending the kind of trust that makes these bargains,” he said.
The state’s current backlog of $14 billion in unpaid bills could balloon to $28 billion by the time the next governor and Illinois General Assembly are sworn in in January 2019.
“A new governor in 2019, whoever that is, could be in the middle of a fiscal year that has no budget, but would be looking at $28 billion of unpaid bills,” he said.
Rauner and Democratic lawmakers have not agreed on a budget plan since he took office. Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno have spent weeks trying to craft a “grand bargain” compromise, but the deal fell apart earlier this month, and Democrats accused Rauner of pulling Republican votes off the bipartisan pact.