Illinois didn't shut down, and still hasn't, even though lawmakers and the governor never got together on a budget.
“The governor signed the appropriation for elementary and secondary education. He sought and got the order which provided for the issuance of the paychecks,” says House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago). “When you add all the elements together, you are very close to 100 percent of what the governor estimates will be available,” which is $32 billion.
“We have to consider what is going on with our federal courts,” says House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). “There's a number of consent decrees that, I think, the courts have interpreted very loosely, which are allowing for spending to continue by court order that we can't control.”
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Does that mean those who are forced to do without – largely those who depend on third-party social service providers – are simply acceptable losses in this titanic battle? Durkin says no.
“The fact is: we have fiduciary responsibilities to the people of this state,” he says.
“Everyone's losing right now," says State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove). "We're losing people and businesses and opportunities.”
Durkin went so far as to say the ongoing budget bungle is the work of a Democratic plan hatched shortly after Gov. Bruce Rauner was elected.
“Our responsibility is to solve the problem of the budget deficit,” Madigan responded.