Past Due

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

Past Due:  The Challenges Ahead is a commitment by NPR Illinois to cover the fiscal deterioration of Illinois and explain the impact that operating with more expenses than revenue has on citizens. NPR Illinois reporters continue to investigate how Illinois is, and will be, affected by its current fiscal state.  What will lead the state back to fiscal health and how many decades will it take.

You have a role in bringing the repercussions of Illinois' fiscal state 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.

Bilandic Building
Google Street View

Illinois’ struggling social-service agencies lost another round in court Thursday. An appellate panel in Chicago says Illinois does not have to pay unless the state has a real budget.

Bruce Rauner
Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Gov. Bruce Rauner has called 10 special sessions of the Illinois General Assembly for the end of the month.

St. Clair County Building
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

BELLEVILLE — Dozens of Illinois’ social service providers were back in court Wednesday. Many have gone nearly a year without funding during the budget stalemate. They’re asking a St. Clair County judge to force Illinois to pay.

Fifth District Appellate Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

MOUNT VERNON — A case with the potential to upend Illinois' budget impasse was argued Tuesday before the Fifth District Appellate Court.

It's clear you have something to say about the historic impasse entering its third year.  Here are some of the early contributions:

Kankakee Community College

The ongoing budget impasse has been particularly difficult for Illinois' institutions of higher education, which have received a mere fraction of their usual state funds. Community colleges depend on the state to supply 30 percent of their overall budget, but that formula has evaporated over the past two years.

 

John Avendano is the president of Kankakee Community College, but he's also president of the Presidents Council — the group made up of all Illinois community college presidents. He spoke with our Education Desk reporter about the special challenges these schools face.

Susana Mendoza
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois government has been deadlocked on a state budget for 23 months. During that time, the once-perfunctory job of comptroller has gained in power and prominence.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, a Hinckley Republican, says he has been a member of at least nine caucuses.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois lawmakers last week approved a sweeping overhaul of the way the state funds public schools. Mainly Democrats supported the plan, but the top Republican co-sponsor chose not to vote at all.

flickr/ TaxCredits.net

A court hearing scheduled for Tuesday has the potential to shake up Illinois' already-precarious financial situation. Organizations that run the state’s Medicaid program are asking a judge to speed up their payments.

Illinois government ended another legislative session without a budget. Because of that, credit rating agencies downgraded the state's debt while public universities announced more layoffs.

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker was in the news because of his relationship with imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after the Illinois General Assembly ended it’s spring session without passing a budget, two bond rating agencies have downgraded the state’s credit.

The actions, by S&P Global Ratings and Moody's Investors Service, leave state government debt just one step above “junk” status.

Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly ended its annual legislative session last night without agreeing on a budget.

Top Democrats and Republicans blamed each other.

As Brian Mackey reports, state government's long, slow financial crisis will accelerate.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Democrats remain divided over how to address the state’s financial crisis.

Credit Carter Staley

NPR Illinois and WDCB hosted an Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget and how it has impacted DuPage County on May 23. 

Senate Democrats hold another set of votes on what was once referred to as the "grand bargain," but Republicans say the deal isn't there yet. Can anyone in Springfield trust anyone else long enough to make something happen?

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is under attack by Republicans over his property taxes.

Jason Barickman and other members of the Illinois Senate Republican cuacus.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Senate Democrats on Wednesday passed part of a budget plan for state government.

If it also passes the House and is signed into law, it would be the first real budget Illinois has had since 20-15. But that’s a big “if.”

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Champaign-Urbana

May 17, 2017
Dina Anderson

NPR Illinois hosted a forum on the state budget in Champaign on May 17. 

Community members attended to tell how they have been impacted by the state budget impasse.

ICPR

Higher education has been among the areas feeling the state budget impasse as funding has been cut.  It has forced some schools to reduce classes, lay off employees and, in some cases, close for several days. 

But a review of enrollment indicates small and mid-sized public universities are taking a double hit.   

Heather Steans
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Both the Illinois House and Senate return to work in Springfield today. Just over two weeks remain before the annual legislative session is scheduled to end.

Flickr

Commentary: The time has come to stop talking about a  'truly balanced budget'

“Let’s get a truly balanced budget ... ”  Gov. Bruce Rauner and his aides, in various venues on numerous occasions, 2015-present.

Not to downplay the governor’s mantra, but what exactly is a “truly balanced budget?” 

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

There was another setback Wednesday for efforts to end Illinois' budget stalemate.

Senate Democrats attempted a series of test votes on items in the so-called “grand bargain.” But Republicans refused to go along, saying more negotiation is needed to reach a deal they can support.

Digging a hole. A really deep hole.
David Stillman / Flickr.com/stilldavid (CC-BY-NC)

A nonpartisan research group says Illinois’ desperate financial condition is getting even worse.

The Civic Federation of Chicago says unless something is done soon, by next year the state’s pile of unpaid bills could consume half of all new tax revenue.

Heather Steans
file / Office of Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois Senate Democrats are hoping to win bipartisan support for a partial government spending plan.

The proposal would release more than $800 million that’s been collected in special state accounts for higher education and human services, areas that have been particularly squeezed during the 22-month budget stalemate.

Coverage from Thursdays Illinois Issues Forum:

WICS NewsChannel 20 ABC Springfield

WCIA CBS 3 Decatur

Teresa Haley comments
Lee Milner / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

NPR Illinois hosted an Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget impasse. Illinois residents who have been directly impacted discussed the burden placed on their community. 

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton says he and his colleagues will take up a partial government spending bill passed by the House earlier this month.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been saying he thinks a comprehensive budget deal is “very close.” He points to negotiations in the state Senate, so Brian Mackey asked the Senate president if that’s the case.

The Quad, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Clay Gregory / flickr.com/claygregory (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Six of Illinois’ state universities have been put on notice for credit downgrades. It’s the latest knock on state government after more than 21 months without a full budget.

CREDIT SIU.EDU

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees last week pushed off a major financial decision.

As public universities face fiscal emergencies and domestic violence shelters are closing, House Democrats approve what they call "lifeline spending." Republicans object, saying it relieves pressure on legislators to pass a comprehensive state budget.

Meanwhile, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker formally declares his candidacy for governor. Will the Democratic primary be a story of David vs. Goliath vs. David vs. Goliath vs. David?

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