State's High Court Asked To Decide Whether Workers Can Keep Getting Paid

Jul 13, 2015

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to take up the issue of whether Illinois can pay its employees in the absence of a spending plan.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' high court has been asked to decide once and for all whether Illinois can pay government workers when there's no state budget.

Despite the budget impasse, state employees are getting their paychecks for July. The Comptroller's office says that's thanks to a decision from a St. Clair County judge.

But a Cook County judge had the opposite take, and ruled that without a budget, Illinois loses authority to pay all workers.

Those cases will continue winding their way through the legal system on a regional level -- each have been appealed. In a filing with the Illinois Supreme Court, Attorney General Lisa Madigan says that "creates the possibility of continued confusion."

"These appeals raise the fundamental question of when the State can expend public funds in the absence of a constitutionally required appropriations statute," according to her filing.

Madigan is asking the state's high court to put those lower cases on hold, and instead take up the question itself. In the meanwhile, the comptroller's office says it's going to continue processing payroll.

The Senate will return this week to take up legislation that would fund employees' pay through July, as well as what Democrats call "essential" state services, for the next month.  However, Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he will not sign a stop-gap budget.