Brian Mackey

Reporter - Statehouse

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after the Illinois General Assembly ended it’s spring session without passing a budget, two bond rating agencies have downgraded the state’s credit.

The actions, by S&P Global Ratings and Moody's Investors Service, leave state government debt just one step above “junk” status.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly ended its annual legislative session last night without agreeing on a budget.

Top Democrats and Republicans blamed each other.

As Brian Mackey reports, state government's long, slow financial crisis will accelerate.

Lou Lang
file / Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Wednesday is the last day of the Illinois General Assembly's annual legislative session.

It also happens to mark 700 days since Illinois last had a real budget. Majority Democrats still aren’t saying whether they plan to do anything about that.

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House has approved a plan to raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 an hour. But it faces an uphill climb to become law.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Democrats remain divided over how to address the state’s financial crisis.

I voted sticker
Vox Efx / flickr

Illinois’ top election officials say the nearly two-year budget stalemate could interfere with preparations for next year’s election. The warning came at a budget hearing Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democrats in the Illinois Senate on Friday made another attempt to meet the demands of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s economic agenda.

The Republican governor has said the expense of workers compensation insurance has driven businesses out of the state.

Senate Democrats go it alone on a tax hike — will their House counterparts follow suit? And what happens if legislators don't pass a budget by the scheduled end of session on May 31?

Dick Durbin
file / Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says talk of impeaching President Donald Trump is premature.

That's at odds with positions taken last week by at least three of the Democrats running for governor in Illinois.

Senate Democrats hold another set of votes on what was once referred to as the "grand bargain," but Republicans say the deal isn't there yet. Can anyone in Springfield trust anyone else long enough to make something happen?

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is under attack by Republicans over his property taxes.

The Illinois Senate has adjourned for the day without taking action on remaining items from the "grand bargain" budget compromise.

Democrats who run the chamber had said they might push forward Thursday with remaining items after approving several parts of the compromise on Wednesday.

But what remains are some of the tougher measures. One would increase the personal income tax from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent and the corporate rate from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.

Jason Barickman and other members of the Illinois Senate Republican cuacus.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Senate Democrats on Wednesday passed part of a budget plan for state government.

If it also passes the House and is signed into law, it would be the first real budget Illinois has had since 20-15. But that’s a big “if.”

Heather Steans
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Both the Illinois House and Senate return to work in Springfield today. Just over two weeks remain before the annual legislative session is scheduled to end.

Senate Democrats tried — and failed — to force votes on the so-called grand bargain. What are the prospects for a budget deal before the Illinois General Assembly's scheduled end-of-session on May 31?

Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner was booed when he appeared at the commencement ceremony for Chicago State University — the public university arguably hit hardest by the 22-month stalemate over taxes and spending in Illinois government. 

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

There was another setback Wednesday for efforts to end Illinois' budget stalemate.

Senate Democrats attempted a series of test votes on items in the so-called “grand bargain.” But Republicans refused to go along, saying more negotiation is needed to reach a deal they can support.

Toi Hutchinson
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A controversial abortion measure was approved Wednesday in the Illinois Senate. It would expand government funding of the procedure.

Digging a hole. A really deep hole.
David Stillman / Flickr.com/stilldavid (CC-BY-NC)

A nonpartisan research group says Illinois’ desperate financial condition is getting even worse.

The Civic Federation of Chicago says unless something is done soon, by next year the state’s pile of unpaid bills could consume half of all new tax revenue.

Pat Quinn speaking next to his portrait
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Former governor Pat Quinn was back in the Illinois Statehouse Monday. The Democrat was there for a ceremony to unveil his official portrait in the Capitol’s Hall of Governors.

Dick Durbin
file / Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is putting his heart into attacking the Republican health care bill — literally.

Durbin is citing his own recent cardiac procedure to point out what he and other Democrats say are flaws in the legislation.

Budget talk continues in Springfield — but our panel isn't getting its hopes up yet. And what's really holding up the sale of the Thompson Center? (Spoiler alert: It's complicated.)

James Kluppelberg
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ budget stalemate has held up compensation for people who’ve been unjustly imprisoned. But on Thursday, a bipartisan group of state senators took a step toward fixing that.

Senate Committee
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The death of a one-year-old child in Joliet Township has Illinois' child-welfare agency on the defensive.

Department of Children and Family Services director George Sheldon testified Wednesday before a state Senate committee.

Heather Steans
file / Office of Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois Senate Democrats are hoping to win bipartisan support for a partial government spending plan.

The proposal would release more than $800 million that’s been collected in special state accounts for higher education and human services, areas that have been particularly squeezed during the 22-month budget stalemate.

bus stop
flickr.com/stevekeiretsu

The state budget impasse has left Illinois months behind in payment to downstate mass transit agencies. That’s led to cuts in service from Kankakee to Jacksonville.

Now lawmakers are looking to remove them from the fight.

Illinois has gone 667 days without a budget. Asked to grade his performance in office, Gov. Rauner gave himself an A for what he could do without legislative support.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan requested a meeting with Rauner — thought to be their first in nearly 6 months.

And between 1,500 and 2,000 women marched on the Capitol in support of Democratic policies and candidates, as House Democrats sought to highlight Rauner's contradictory positions on abortion rights.

Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has lost his $28,000 annual state pension. He’s serving a 15-month prison sentence for banking violations — crimes he admitted were to pay someone to keep quiet about his sexual abuse of high school students decades ago.

Women's March on Springfield
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The minimum wage, abortion rights, and the state budget were among the rallying points for women marching on the Illinois Statehouse Tuesday. The event put liberal issues — and Democratic candidates — front and center.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he and his colleagues will take up a partial government spending bill passed by the House earlier this month.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been saying he thinks a comprehensive budget deal is “very close.” He points to negotiations in the state Senate, so Brian Mackey asked the Senate president if that’s the case.

Barbara Flynn Currie
Illinois House Democrats

Women from across Illinois are expected in Springfield Tuesday for a march and rally at the Statehouse.

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