Leslie MungerWhether state workers can or should be paid without a state budget seems to be a contentious point between the Attorney General and Comptroller.

Comptroller Leslie Munger is asking Attorney General Lisa Madigan to go to the courts and get an order similar to a 2007 court decision which allowed state employees to be paid in full without a budget agreement. The governor is asking for the same, but Madigan's court filing doesn't, mentioning how under federal law, certain workers would be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour until a budget is passed.

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Munger isn't saying she disagrees with Madigan, but feels paying employees is the right thing to do.

"I would like to see that done," Munger said, "but I will comply with what the court decides in this order, and the Attorney General is seeking the assistance of the court to get clarification on what he can and cannot pay."

Munger says like in 2007, the state doesn't have lists of which workers are considered "essential," and to avoid heavy federal fines, she feels the safer option is to pay all employees in full. The 2007 order specifically mentioned it wouldn't set a precedent for future cases.

The comptroller's office will be able to continue paying bills authorized in the last fiscal year, along with "continuing appropriations," such as retiree benefits, most local government payments, and the payroll for state legislators and judges. New payments to state vendors, and expedited payments to certain non-profit organizations will stop. 


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