Governor Signs Partial Budget, Sending Money To Municipalities, Lottery

Dec 7, 2015

Credit flickr/borman18

Money can now be released to local governments and community organizations that have been waiting for state funding since July. The Senate was in Springfield briefly Monday to approve the funding; within hours the governor had signed the plan into law.

An ideological, political feud between the governor and the Democrats who control Illinois' legislature has left the state without a budget.

But they've reach a minor agreement. Republicans had previously been against piecemeal budgets, but Governor Bruce Rauner says he was concerned about public safety.

"This is the bipartisan, negotiated compromise between the General Assembly and the governor's office," Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton, of Villa Park, said as he introduced the plan authorizing some $3 billion.

A big chunk of that money has been piling up in state accounts, and will go to cities so they can buy road salt and keep 911 call centers going, leading Republican Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine to say: "So merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and to our mayors, good spending."

President of the Illinois Municipal League Brad Cole says it's lucky that so far it's been a warm winter. "Now most communities could handle it for a little while, but it is serious business to keep the streets clear. And to make sure that the roadways are safe and passable," Cole said. "And as we get deeper into December and January, we just can't do that off of rubbing nickels together."

It also gives the Lottery money to pay winners, and funds energy assistance the poor via "LIHEAP" (Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program).

Things aren't merry for everyone, though: public colleges and universities are still waiting for state funding.