No Money for Illinois Lawmakers This Holiday

2017 is a year of many promises for people looking to achieve a new year’s resolution. Or some who are ready for the “New Year, New Me” mantra.

However for those who run the state of Illinois, 2017 is already not looking to begin well since they are ending 2016 with no money in their pockets.

To catch you up: In 2015, Governor Rauner took office, he issued a Turnaround Agenda, which is a pro-business fixer-up plan to overcome a few problems corporations face in Illinois. Gov. Rauner being a business-man himself gave demands to lawmakers, but dropped a few for the sake of compromising.

We’re talking a permanent freeze on property taxes, giving term limits to politicians and changing the way employees are able to sue their companies if they are injured or hurt on the job. Since the lawmakers won’t agree to pass his reforms, he doesn’t want to pass the budget.

Those against passing these reforms say they can focus on what he wants but his changes have nothing to do with the actual budget and everyone needs to focus on that first before moving on to other business.

Sidenote: Gov. Rauner also wants the budget to be completely balanced before gives his seal of approval. The budget has not be balanced since the 1990’s and the only way to break even at this point is to cut back, drastically. Illinois was operating close to $4 Billion in the hole and borrowing money to make ends meet. (Think, the money given to schools to operate, money for after school programs, some salaries; anywhere, any person or any organization which receives some type of funding from the state).

In an effort to cut back on spending, Comptroller Leslie Munger (a.k.a. the person who actually signs the checks) halted lawmakers’ paychecks over the summer.

Munger, like Rauner, is a Republican. The Democrats control both the Illinois House & Senate so there’s plenty of back of forth is Springfield.

In one last peace out to Munger; on Friday (her last day in office) Democrat lawmakers filed a lawsuit in Cook County demanding their paychecks back, saying ‘oh by the way keeping our checks is against the Illinois Constitution’.

Susan Mendoza, a Democrat, beat Munger during the election and was just sworn in to take control of the Comptroller’s office this past Monday. However, Mendoza agrees with Munger on holding the checks until a budget is formulated.

Lawmakers get paid once a month at the end of the month. The decision is now in at the hands of a judge to decide.