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Could The Budget Impasse Last Four Years?

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

A week from today is a shameful anniversary for Illinois. It will mean the state has gone a full year without a complete budget.


Bruce Rauner has been at the state's helm since last January -- which means he'll be governor for at least another two and a half years.

Back in May, Democratic State Representative Lou Lang remarked:

“…That it was entirely possible that there would not be an agreed budget during the entire four years of Bruce Rauner's governorship."

Lang says he doesn't want that. But, he says, it's possible. Recently, Crain's Business News reporters posed that question to the governor. 

"Is it possible for Illinois to go four years without a budget?" Rauner said, "No. Illinois would rack up too large a deficit." So, they asked him: "How long can we go?" Rauner: "Nobody knows." Reporter: "I didn't think we could go this long." Rauner: *laughs* Reporter: "Honestly." Rauner: "Most people didn't."

The Illinois Legislature plans to reconvene next week as the state approaches a second year without a budget.

Senate President John Cullerton told members Thursday they should return to Springfield on Wednesday. The House also is expected to be in session.

Lawmakers have been working on a stopgap budget to fund schools and other government services in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday they appear close to a deal. He says the sticking point is whether the Legislature will approve additional money to help Chicago Public Schools.

Rauner calls it a "bailout" and says taxpayers outside Chicago shouldn't be on the hook for CPS' financial "mismanagement."

Democrats who run the Legislature argue the system for funding schools is unfair and Chicago deserves more money.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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