A new fiscal year began on July 1 without a state budget in place, a situation Illinois has been in before. On July 1, 1991, the state faced a similar budget stalemate that came to an end only when legislative leaders and then-Governor Jim Edgar worked together to reach a compromise.
This willingness to compromise, the Chicago Tribune noted in an editorial, is the biggest difference between 1991 and 2015, “… Rauner is the one who has been showing flexibility. He has revised, reduced his expectations for an agreement. The Democratic leaders have not.”
Facing the difficult task of running a state government without a budget, this week Gov. Rauner reassured state employees that they will be paid for their work, and said his administration is doing everything possible to ensure essential services continue uninterrupted.
During a visit to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency on June 30, Rauner told state employees, “I want to make darn sure you guys are paid, you guys are paid on time, you don’t miss any payroll, and you’re paid 100 percent of your salary, not some lesser amount.”
While the road to “fiscal sanity” is sure to be a bumpy one, Rauner and legislative Republicans remain open to compromise and committed to passing a balanced, constitutional budget and job-creating, structural reforms needed to put Illinois back on track.