A $700 million bipartisan stopgap measure that would fund a variety of human services has been on the governor’s desk for nearly a month now.

While the state finishes the current fiscal year without a full budget, Senate Bill 2038 would spend nearly $700 million from special funds for various human services that have gone all year without funding.

State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said SB 2038 is an imperfect bill that highlights the state’s broken financial situation. “We haven’t budgeted as a whole. We’ve budgeted by emergency. We’ve budgeted because of court orders and consent decrees. This whole process is dysfunctional.”

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McCarter said Gov. Bruce Rauner should sign the measure or at least line-item veto what the governor thinks isn’t a priority.

Rauner criticized the measure for not funding executive agency operations but stopped short of saying he’d veto the bill.  

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton’s spokesman, John Patterson, said the measure draws money from special funds with specific purposes to cover a variety of human services.

“It’s separate from the operating debate over state agencies. That’s part of the general revenue fund dollars, and that’s still a debate there’s not a lot of agreement on that everyone’s working toward,” Patterson said.

The measure passed both chambers with only three present votes in the Illinois House of Representatives, something Patterson said should be a sign of how both sides can work together.

“Let’s count this as a first step forward and see where we can go from there,” Patterson said.

The measure covers spending only for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.


(Copyright WBGZ / www/AltonDailyNews.com)