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.

hourglass with dollar signs instead of sand filtering through
flickr/ Bill Brooks

Before he ran for governor, Bruce Rauner described a plan to use funding for social services as a “wedge” issue to persuade Democrats to support anti-union proposals. The fact that lawmakers did nothing to address the rollback of the temporary income tax increase, which was passed in 2011, set the stage for him to try out his strategy.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform recently compared enrollment data of Illinois public colleges and universities against similar schools in six neighboring states. 

flickr/ 401kcalculator.org

The political spotlight has shifted to the election, but the state budget crisis continues to cost the people of Illinois. 

Community Voices #PastDue - Centro Romero

Sep 28, 2016
Centro Romero

Debbie and William of Centro Romero, which helps the immigrant and refugee community achieve self-sufficiency, recorded this #PastDue video:

flickr/Katherine Johnson

Sean Crawford talks with the Business Editor of the State Journal-Register Tim Landis.

University of Illinois Public Affairs

The University of Illinois has received a relatively glowing financial report from Moody's Investor Service, but it comes with warnings.

In a just-released report, Moody's analysts commend administrators for having years ago prepared to weather fiscal storms like the one higher education's facing now.

The state of Illinois may have the nation's worst credit rating. But its largest public university system -- the University of Illinois -- gets a far better grade.

Pension Prospects?

Sep 21, 2016

Lawmakers haven't touched state pension benefits in the nearly year-and-a-half since the Illinois Supreme Court ruled their last attempt unconstitutional. But Governor Bruce Rauner says he's "pretty excited": He thinks they will pass a new law this winter.


flickr/sideonecincy

When a man or woman is wrongfully imprisoned, Illinois law says they're entitled to compensation. But like so many others owed money by state government, 14 innocent individuals are still waiting. This is one of their stories.

Closed Tinley Park Mental Health Center
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration announced Friday afternoon that a portion of a state mental health facility in Elgin will become a ward for prisoners with mental illness.

Illinois' hand was forced to do something along these lines; the government agreed in settling a 2007 lawsuit, Rasho v. Baldwin, that alleged poor treatment of mentally ill prisoners.

In a press release, Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin calls the agreement between it and the Department of Human Services a "fundamental change."

When it comes to school funding, Illinois has been ranked as the worst in the country because our system is so inequitable. Basically that means some schools offer a lot of advanced placement courses and have fancy science labs and swimming pools, while other schools can’t afford new math books and have to cut their band programs. The fight over how to fix this has gone on for years.

In July, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that he was creating a bipartisan commission to change the way Illinois funds public schools. That commission held its third meeting yesterday. But there’s another commission tackling the same topic, and its founder claims her group is getting more work done.

IGPA

The ongoing budget debacle that’s hobbled Illinois government was front and center Wednesday in Springfield.

npr.org

It's a rare occurrence of late: A credit rating agency saying something positive about Illinois' finances. But the comment published Tuesday by Moody's Investor Service was tempered.

Illinois could end up having to put an additional half billion dollars into one of its pension funds next year.

As the name suggests, the Teachers Retirement System is the retirement benefits fund for all Illinois public school teachers outside of Chicago.

Anxious legislators will once again see a deposit from the state of Illinois in their bank accounts. They’re getting paid Tuesday for the first time since July, when their April paychecks came through.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

Officials with the Teacher’s Retirement System made a decision today that could add another $421 million to Illinois’ annual pension costs.

 

Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

An overhaul of the retirement benefits Illinois gives state employees, public school teachers and university workers has been the subject of talks between state leaders in recent months. Gov. Bruce Rauner said so Wednesday, but he sounded uncertain as to what will come of it.

elevator down arrow
Eric Skiff

In 2008, the Great Recession helped to tip Illinois into a fiscal crisis it still hasn't recovered from. A new report from Standard & Poor's found that another even moderate recession would mean big trouble for the state's budget. ​

ilga.gov

Illinois' partial budget is too little and too late to make up for projected investment losses.

flickr/ Pal-Kristian Hamre

The governor describes the stopgap budget as a bridge to reform. But it could also be called an excavator — digging the state’s fiscal hole deeper.

IGPA

(As state lawmakers consider another try at cutting pension benefits for government workers, we revisit this interview from 2016 with former Illinois Senate attorney Eric Madiar)

Illinois continues to have the worst funded government pension systems of all 50 states. Legislators have taken several swipes at reducing those costs. But so far they’ve all been batted away by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Bruce Rauner
brucerauner.com

When Gov. Bruce Rauner announced today a new legislative commission to fix Illinois’ school funding formula, the first question from reporters attending the press conference was: Why should we get excited about yet another task force? Groups of lawmakers have been trying to change the state’s notoriously inequitable system for at least the past 10 years. The difference this time, Rauner said, is that the situation has become critical.

Courtesy of IBHE

During the recent state budget impasse, Illinois colleges and universities have been forced to scrape by without state funding, except for stop gap money designed to keep them open through the fall semester. But that may not satisfy accreditation agencies. James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says the Higher Learning Commission may just home in on the fact that Illinois schools are missing what schools in other states have: a solid budget.

Who should pay for the Illinois courts?

uis.edu

MAP grants — the monetary award program that helps low-income students pay college tuition — will receive some funding through the stopgap measure approved last week by Illinois lawmakers. But a new survey conducted by the agency that administers the MAP program shows the detrimental effects the state budget impasse has already had on those students’ enrollment decisions. 

Democratic leaders in the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear to be close to a deal to approve some funding for social service providers, higher education, capital construction and state operations. The proposal would also fund K-12 schools for all of next fiscal year.

But the plan can’t erase the destruction caused by the state going for a year without a budget.​​

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois/Illinois Issues

About a dozen college and university officials gathered at the capitol today to remind lawmakers of the desperate situation schools find themselves in. Most have gone for a year with less than a third of expected state funds. The coalition included presidents of institutions as enormous as the University of Illinois System and as small as the private liberal arts school Illinois College in Jacksonville, whose president warned that state funds need to come quickly.

flickr/ Bill Brooks

 The United Way of Illinois surveyed social services providers in the state and found that during the budget impasse, about  1 million of their clients have lost services due to lack of funding. 

Jamey Dunn
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn and guests Dave Dahl (WTAX) and Bruce Rushton (IL Times) talk about a bipartisan gun control bill and the budget.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

nprillinois

July 1 will mark a shameful anniversary for Illinois -- it will mean the state has completed a full year without a complete budget. How long can this go on?

  Bruce Rauner has been at the state's helm since last January, which means he'll be governor for at least another two and a half years. Democratic State Representative Lou Lang has remarked that it's possible that Illinois could go without a budget the entire length of Rauner's term.

Jamey Dunn, Charlie Wheeler, and Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Host Jamey Dunn, Brian Mackey, and Charlie Wheeler discuss the possibility of a budget agreement before the end of the fiscal year.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Illinois political leaders’ performance on the budget is reminiscent of the losingest team in modern baseball. 

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