Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

As Late Budgets Go, Illinois Has No Equal

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

As Late Budgets Go, Illinois Has No Equal

Article excerpt

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. * Illinois has redefined what it means to have a late budget.

Other states have gone several months without a spending plan before, and Illinois has had prior delays that caused anxiety. But going an entire fiscal year without a full budget? It's the only time in post-World War II history it's happened in the country.

"Late budgets will have a new meaning after you guys are done," said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures who has researched past overdue budgets nationally.

So what did past budget delays here and elsewhere look like? And how did Illinois get to this point? Here's a look.

JUST A MOMENT

Jim Edgar found himself in an unsettling position as Illinois governor in 1991 when the state went 18 days without a budget.

"We thought '91 was protracted and it looks like child's play compared to what they've gone through this year," the former Republican governor said.

The 1991 standoff, which Edgar said "seems like just a moment" compared with today, kept staff at colleges from collecting their paychecks.

At the time, Edgar said the state had not experienced a budget delay like it.

REASONS FOR PAST DELAYS

Back then, Edgar found himself disagreeing with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, much like current Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The sticking point now is that Rauner wants business-friendly, union-weakening legislation as a condition of raising taxes to pass a full, balanced budget.

In 1991, a bad economy forced layoffs and budget cuts, but the gridlock was over what to do about a temporary two-year income tax surcharge that brought $700 million annually to schools and local governments.

Edgar and legislators resolved their differences by agreeing to make the surcharge for education permanent, while extending the tax for local governments for another two years. …

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