Past Due

Increased coverage of the consequences and path forward for Illinois' fiscal future.

Past Due:  Illinois Budget Fail is a commitment by NPR Illinois to cover the historic Illinois budget impasse and to the explain the impact that continues to build as time passes without a budget.  NPR Illinois reporters will investigate how Illinois is, and will be, affected by the uncertainty.  When there is resolution, we'll analyze if it's sufficient in leading the state back to fiscal health or whether it pushes tough choices off to another day.

You have a role in bringing the repercussions of a lack of budget to the broader public.  If you or your organization have been affected, please tell your story.  Use your smartphone camera and post a YouTube or Facebook Live video to the NPR Illinois Facebook page.  If you don't have access to video, email your story to engage@nprillinois.org.  We will share some stories on air and on this page.

Rep. Tim Butler
Illinois General Assembly

The Springfield Republican sat down with us to talk about several key issues involving state government. 

Flickr user spDuchamp / Creative Commons

A report says the outlook for the Illinois economy is bleak.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a St. Clair County judge to stop state employees from getting paid without a legal state budget. Could the move force a resolution of Illinois' 19-month budget impasse?

Meanwhile, Gov. Bruce Rauner gave his annual State of the State address. And Rauner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and President Donald Trump engaged in a multimedia war of words.

MAP students from St. Xavier University lobbied lawmakers at the Thompson Center in Chicago last February.
St. Xavier University

The ongoing state budget impasse, now in its second year, has been particularly tough for low-income college students who rely on the state’s Monetary Award Program -- known as the MAP grant -- to help cover tuition. The state has delivered only a fraction of the money promised for those grants, and schools have had to choose between covering the grants using their own reserves or billing the students. The latter choice leaves campus financial aid officers with the task of breaking the bad news to students. We asked Sue Swisher, executive director of financial aid at St. Xavier University in Chicago, to tell us how those conversations go.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan headshot
Office of Illinois Attorney General

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is seeking to stop state worker pay until legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner approve a spending plan.

John Cullerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Senate left Springfield Thursday without voting on a bipartisan effort to end Illinois' budget stalemate. But hope springs eternal.

The so-called grand bargain — devised earlier this month by the Senate's top leadership — was like a chili recipe where the cooks keep swapping ingredients. The latest version would increase the income tax by one-and-a-quarter percentage points, and further decrease government pensions.

It would also fully fund Illinois government for the first time since 2015.

John Cullerton, Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

 Gov. Bruce Rauner will strike an optimistic tone in his State of the State address, while acknowledging Illinois faces ``significant challenges.''
 

Since the Illinois temporary spending plan ended in December, even more services are disappearing. One of them is state aid to provide funerals for families that can’t afford them.


John Cullerton, Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Senate is this week expected to consider a bipartisan compromise meant to break the 18-month budget stalemate.

The framework shows there are many areas in which Democrats and Republicans can come to an agreement. But it still leaves one big philosophical question unanswered.

That question is whether a governor can say: "Pass my agenda, and only then will I negotiate on a budget."

Democrats, like state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago, have resisted that ultimatum.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, more talk of a potential bipartisan compromise on reaching a budget agreement - in the Senate, at least.  Governor Bruce Rauner isn't commenting on it, however.  Matt Dietrich of Reboot Illinois and Tony Arnold of WBEZ Public Radio join the panel.

Daniel Biss speaking to group
Office of state Sen. Daniel Biss

The last time the General Assembly tried to make school funding more equitable across Illinois, the legislation got derailed largely due to a fight over teacher pensions. Now pensions have cropped up again, this time in a bipartisan commission working to overhaul the school funding formula.

Jannes Pockele/flickr

Part of a potential compromise at the statehouse would make Illinois the first state with a tax on sugary drinks, like soda. 

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

For the past 20 years, school funding in Illinois has relied heavily on property taxes, which means schools near prime commercial or residential areas thrive, while others struggle to get by. Since August, a bi-partisan, bi-cameral group of lawmakers has been meeting regularly to try to come up with a better way to fund public schools.

Michael Madigan being sworn in at UIS
Ted Schurter / State Journal-Register (Pool Photo)

Michael Madigan was re-elected speaker of the House Wednesday in Springfield. It was the opening day of the 100th General Assembly, and Madigan used the occasion to call for a focus on economic growth.

Illinois Senate
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois state legislators opened a new two-year session of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday. Amid the ceremonies and celebrations, the focus remains on the political stalemate that's left Illinois without a budget for more than 18 months.

John Cullerton and Christine Radogno
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Details of a massive, bipartisan compromise meant to end Illinois' budget stalemate emerged Monday in the Illinois Senate. But the plan has been put on hold.

Wikimedia / Damonsacks

Health reporter for The State Journal-Register, Dean Olsen, has been looking at the hurdles in place when it comes to healthcare access, many as a result of the state's budget problems. 

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois legislators return to Springfield Monday. Disagreements between Democrats and Republicans have left state government without a full budget for more than 18 months — though Senate leaders are now said be trying to hammer out a compromise.

borken piggy bank on classroom desk
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The state’s ongoing budget impasse has hit community colleges particularly hard, with funds to these schools and the students who attend them drastically reduced. The Illinois Community College Board is distributing $3 million in emergency aid, divided among seven campuses.

colonnade on UIS campus
University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois employees will receive a 2 percent raise in March after the school had to put pay increases on hold for the last two years.

Video monitors of commission meeting
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

More than any other state in the country, Illinois relies on property taxes to fund public schools. As a result, districts in prosperous areas can spend a lot more per student than districts in low-income or rural areas. A group of lawmakers charged with revamping this scheme has been meeting since summer, facing a deadline of February first. But the group isn’t moving fast enough for State Senator Andy Manar. He’s the leading Democrat on the commission. He’s also considering running for governor.

Eastern Illinois University

Campus communities in the state feel the consequences of drastic higher education cuts. 

Public Domain

With the dysfunction in Illinois politics, state government this year is projected to spend as much as $13 billion more than it will collect in taxes. And the situation could be getting worse.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

In the ongoing budget grudge match between Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democratically-controlled legislature, one bright spot is that public schools have been spared. Rauner, in fact, has boasted that under his administration, general state aid for schools has been fully funded for the first time in years. But there’s a caveat to that claim.

Courtesy of Julie Posth

The ongoing budget impasse means that state funding for colleges and universities will run out Dec. 31. While some schools are fronting the money for students who get state assistance, a recent survey found that others are scooping up students' federal financial aid to fill in the gap. It's a little bit like opening your child's birthday card from grandma, and pocketing the cash.

Bruce Rauner
screen capture / Facebook

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner appeared in another Facebook Live video Tuesday. What's behind the Republican's push on social media?

Jim Edgar headshot
Illinois Public Media

Talks between Illinois' leaders have come to a halt, even as an end-of-year budget deadline approaches. Former Governor Jim Edgar says that's a mistake -- Illinois needs a budget.

Edgar says Illinois economy will suffer for years as a direct result of the stalemate.

"The damage is ... the worst damage I've seen. I mean ever the bad years of Blagojevich and the image he gave of Illinois, I don't think has done anything as much damage as we've seen," he said Monday on the Illinois Public Media show "The 21st."

Republican Leadership
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois hasn't had a true state budget for a year and five months. Even so, there's some talk of trying to work ahead on a spending plan for the future.

Talk to a university president. The head of a homeless shelter, rape crisis hotline, or other organization that depends on state funding. Even the director of a state agency.

They'll all tell you that one of the most difficult parts of going without a budget for so long, is that it's created tremendous uncertainty.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

It’s been 1 year, 5 months and 9 days since Illinois government had a full, regular budget. Legislative leaders continue painting their counterparts in the other party as the main obstacle. Meanwhile rank-and-file legislators have gone without pay since June, and now a group of Democrats are suing, saying it’s an attempt to coerce them into going along with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda.

Pages