Illinois State Fair: No Budget? No Problem!

Aug 6, 2015

The Illinois State Fair will go on next week. That’s even though the budget stalemate has left officials without the means to fully pay for it.

If you go by the book, state government executives aren’t supposed to spend money unless the legislature specifically authorizes it. But the standoff between the Republican governor and Democratic legislative leaders has meant there is no budget.

Nevertheless, state fair leaders say they’ll find a way to make sure the show goes on.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson says the companies that service the fair — collecting garbage, getting hay for the animals — "they understand that we don’t have a budget and payments will be delayed. But that’s part of doing business and they’ve been here for a number of years and support the fair."

Other vendors — like the bands that play the Grandstand shows — are paid from a separate account that fair officials say doesn’t require legislative approval.

The Swine Barn on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS