Rauner Approves $2 Billion Dollars For Local Government
Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a partial budget into law, releasing some $2 billion that thus far has been caught in the political fight between the Republican and legislative Democrats.
Funds can now be released to local governments and community organizations that have been waiting for state funding since July.
Shortly after the Illinois Senate overwhelmingly approved a partial budget plan Monday, the governor signed it into law.
Two line items that utilize GRF money, including $10 million to the Secretary of State to pay for electrical bills and maintenance at state buildings and $18 million to fund shelters for victims of domestic violence.The funding will send 9-1-1 fees to the call centers, give municipalities their share of proceeds from video gaming, and allow localities to pay for road salt.
“This is only a small component of the total budget, but it is an important step forward,” said Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford. “This legislation will make sure our roads are plowed this winter, and shelters for domestic violence victims remain open.”
Brad Cole, President of the Illinois Municipal League, says it's lucky that -- so far -- it's been a warm winter.
"Now, most communities could handle it for a little while, but it is serious business to keep the streets clear," Cole said, "and to make sure that the roadways are safe and passable. And as we get deeper into December and January, we just can't do that off of rubbing nickels together."
“Now we need to keep working to pass a balanced budget for the vast majority of state spending,” said Sen. Syverson. “We still have a long way to go, but this bill proves that it is possible when both sides are at the table in good faith.”
Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says she will make a priority of payments to keep domestic violence shelters open.
"I have directed our staff to process payments for domestic violence shelters, local governments, 911 services and Lottery winners as soon we receive the necessary vouchers," Munger said.
"Domestic violence shelters have entered their sixth month without payments and are turning away women and children," she addewd. Local governments also provide critical services to our families and communities. I am committed to ensuring these organizations and local governments are paid promptly so they can avoid further hardship."
Munger noted that payments for local governments, 911 services, and the Lottery can be made swiftly because the necessary dollars are set aside in independent state funds dedicated to those purposes. However, domestic violence shelter payments come from the state's General Revenue Fund, which currently has a nearly $7 billion bill backlog.
Munger said she has directed that domestic violence shelter payments be prioritized and paid upon receipt of a voucher from a state agency.
One billion dollars will be used to pay lottery winners who have been waiting for their prizes.
Democratic Sen. Tom Cullerton introduced the plan authorizing several billion dollars in spending.
"This is the bipartisan, negotiated compromise between the General Assembly and the governor's office," Cullerton said.
The Illinois House approved the measure last week.
Public colleges and universities are still waiting for state funding. Illinois has been without a comprehensive budget since July.