Illinois Budget Impasse "Could Go On Awhile," Governor Says

Oct 3, 2015

Illinois has surpassed the 90-day mark of going without a budget. The governor on Friday signaled that number will keep rising.

Illinois' budget impasse means public universities have gone three months without any state funding. The State Museum has closed. Therapists that worked with disabled infants quit, because they weren't getting paid. The Secretary of State's office isn't going to mail out reminders about expiring license plate registration, because it can't afford the postage.

"This could go on awhile," Gov. Bruce Rauner said, adding that he's not going to give up on his demands for term limits, legislative redistricting, and business-friendly, union-weakening changes to workers' compensation, the tort system, and the prevailing wage law -- all of which the Democratic legislature has resisted.

Still, Rauner insisted that slow progress is being made. "What is not clear in the media is that there are lot of negotiations going on, and they have been," he said to reporters after a manufacturing visit in Effingham.  "What I've learned the hard way is talking about the discussions and negotiations through the media ends up being a bit counterproductive. So I specifically have not for quite a few months been talking about the negotiations."

Rauner and his press office have largely refused to speak about what goes on in closed-door meetings, and demanded secrecy from lawmakers during a series of working groups the administration formed just before session's regular, May adjournment date.  Rauner did get backlash from the General Assembly's legislative leaders about comments he made to the press questioning the ethics of Senate President John Cullerton's and House Speaker Michael Madigan's legal practices following a meeting with them, but the governor reportedly had not made those comments to the leaders' faces.

The governor and all four legislative leaders haven't met as a group since May.

The impasse has prompted calls from some legislative leaders for a special session dedicated to finding a budget compromise, but Rauner rebuffed that suggestion, saying that it would cost the state too much to pay legislators for the extra time in Springfield.

*Thank you to Scott Ealy, for providing WUIS with a raw audio recording of Gov. Bruce Rauner's exchange with reporters Friday in Effingham