In Illinois, cash is flowing despite the state not having a budget for the second straight month. Analyst put the blame on disagreements between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic party.
But unlike in other states, the governor failed to use all legal means to force his political rivals to accept a budget bill that they disagree with. Gov. Rauner didn’t get to aggressive because he feared a crisis.
But strangely, things are running smoothly despite current political deadlock. Streets are being built, lower-income folks are receiving subsidized health care, schools are being funded, state employees are getting their salaries and so on.
Economists calculate that 8 of 10 dollars in the budget plan were unlocked form the political jam by court rulings or extra regulations. Additionally, drug makers and other companies are still selling to the state hoping that they would get reimbursed as soon as budget exits the gridlock.
Yet, the standoff between the two parties may not end very soon. In the meantime, the state is expected to spend $38 billion, the same amount it burned last year, and gain $32 billion due to a 4-year increase in taxes which ended this January.
Both parties have at least something in common – state should be extra careful with expenditures this year. This means that as soon as the budget deal is reached residents should expect some serious cuts. Experts explain, however, that the cuts would become sharper as time runs by and a deal is not stricken.
But the sides do not fight over numbers solely. Gov. Rauner in fact refused to sign off most of the Democrats’ budget proposals because he wants an anti-union, pro-corporate agenda to be embraced by state lawmakers.
The Senate Republican leader explained that agreeing on budget numbers is piece of cake. The hard part is agreeing on reforms. In late June, the governor said no to almost the entire budget proposal coming from his political opponents. He did accept however a $7 billion spending plan to fund K-12 education.
Gov. Rauner however wanted more for education in his budget proposal earlier this year.
For the rest of the money, state courts stepped in. A series of court rulings allowed Republicans to send vital money to the country’s key functions. State workers now receive their benefits and salaries because a judge ruled that a delay in worker pay would infringe collective bargaining deals. In July, a federal judge ordered the state to pay for health care to lower income families in the in Cook County. The governor decided to apply that move statewide which unlocked the $8 billion per year designed to flow into Medicaid programs.
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