Springfield Mayor Hopes Obama Can Break State Budget Gridlock

Feb 9, 2016

Credit BarackObama/flickr

The fate of Illinois' budget impasse could be influenced by the leader of the free world. At least, that's what Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is hoping for.

The state owes the city more than seven million dollars in utility bills it hasn't paid because there's no state budget. Langfelder says he hopes President Barack Obama's speech to state lawmakers Wednesday will help forge a budget compromise.

"Hopefully, his message will be one of coming together, but the other side of that is he does come from the federal government. You can provide influence over individual leaders to come together to find a resolution," Langfelder said.

Langfelder says he will watch to see if the president's visit sparks any momentum on the state's budget impasse, now in its eighth month. If not, he says he will continue to pursue payment through legislation in the General Assembly.

Obama himself owes the city.  Langfelder has said recently that he wants to waive $50,000 Obama's campaign owes for security when he kicked off his 2008 candidacy in Springfield.