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Illinois Attorney General Calls For Blocking State Employee Pay Until Budget Is Resolved

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a judge to tell state employees: No budget, no paycheck.

Polling says most Illinois residents don't think they’re affected by the lack of a state budget. And a judge had ruled originally that state employees had to be paid for the work that they do.  That could all change if a St. Clair County judge accepts Lisa Madigan's legal arguments.  

She says a court order requiring state employee paychecks is letting legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner off the hook. This is despite the fact that, according to Madigan, it's their constitutional duty to pass a budget.  

Both Rauner’s administration and the union that represents state employees are condemning Madigan’s filing.

Rauner Spokesperson Catherine Kelly issued the following statement on the governor's behalf:

"It's disappointing to see any move to stop employee pay and disrupt government services, especially now as the Senate is on the verge of a bipartisan agreement to enact a balanced budget with changes to the system. This filing seeks to directly harm thousands of employee families and even more who rely on our dedicated state workers everyday.  We urge the Attorney General to reconsider this filing and pledge to do all we can to defend employee pay."

Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti's office echoed the sentiment:

"Just one day after Governor Rauner thanked the Senate for their work to reach a bipartisan agreement on a balanced budget, Attorney General Madigan is attempting to disrupt that progress by filing a lawsuit that could shut down government operations. Illinois' hardworking state employees deserve to be paid so they can continue to support their families who depend on their work.???"

Madigan hopes the pay cutoff would force lawmakers and the governor to come to a budget agreement.  

Brian Mackey and Tony Arnold contributed to this report.

Both Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration and the union that represents state employees are condemning Madigan’s filing.

In an email to employees, a spokesperson for NIU human resources says the university's payroll currently comes from institutional sources and not directly from state appropriations.  Therefore, NIU payroll will not be affected by the Attorney General’s filing in the short-term, and says the school does not anticipate long-term implications.