News

Illinois has state budget, but no school funding plan

Illinois has its belated state budget, but the state Capitol’s next flashpoint in the political struggle over finances is about how to fund public education with just weeks before the first day of school.

The spending plan lawmakers enacted this month over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes ended a two-year state-budget stalemate, the nation’s longest since at least the Great Depression.

Illinois OKs end of landlines, but FCC approval required

An AT&T-backed bill to end traditional landline phone service in Illinois is now the law of the land.

Overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner‘s veto, the General Assembly approved the telecom modernization bill on Saturday, enabling AT&T to disconnect its remaining 1.2 million landline customers statewide, pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

But holdouts may have some time before AT&T pulls the plug for good on its legacy telephone service.

Illinois lawmakers override vetoes to enact first budget in two years

(Reuters) – Illinois ended its historic budget drought on Thursday after the House of Representatives enacted the state’s first complete spending plan since 2015 by overriding the governor’s vetoes.

But the $36 billion fiscal 2018 budget and $5 billion tax hike may not save Illinois from becoming the first-ever U.S. state with a junk credit rating.

Illinois GOP leader resigns amid budget crisis

Amid an epic budget stalemate in Illinois, GOP state Senate leader Christine Radogno has announced her resignation, effective Saturday, a signal that the interminable impasse has taken its toll on key members of the General Assembly.

“I did my best, that’s all I could do,” Radogno said. “It has been a privilege to serve. But now I am looking forward to returning to private life and spending time with my family, especially my five grandchildren.”

Radogno was the co-architect, along with state Senate Democrat John Cullerton of the now-defunct, so-called ‘grand bargain,’ which was a major compromise effort to end the state’s budget crisis.

Lawmakers approve new plan to increase 911 fees

Illinois lawmakers have approved a new version of a plan to fund 911 centers, increase phone fees to pay for the emergency services and allow Illinois to drop traditional landline service.

The plan is similar to one that legislators have already sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner, aside from a

The telecommunications act – which allows for 911 fees to be collected and distributed to 911 centers – expires Friday.

Recently passed legislation to open up PACE financing in Illinois

Illinois could get a PACE program for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy in commercial, industrial and multi-family buildings if the governor signs a bill passed overwhelmingly by the state legislature last month.

Advocates are hopeful that Illinois will become the 20th state with an active PACE program, but nothing is a given in a state with a governor and legislature so at odds that a budget has not been passed for three years.

Illinois House panel advances tax-hike legislation

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois House Democrats tried to digest some unpalatable budget choices Monday, chewing on a Senate proposal with $5 billion in new taxes and some questionable savings that some members think the taxes won’t cover.

Leading Democrats wouldn’t commit to a 32 percent personal income-tax rate increase, but they voiced doubts about some of the savings from spending reductions that are part of the $37.3 billion measure the Senate endorsed last week.

Illinois On The Brink Of Third Year Without A State Budget

Democratic lawmakers in Springfield and Republican governor Bruce Rauner have until May 31 to reach a budget deal.

Why May 31? That day marks the end of the legislative session, and after that, passing any legislation, including the long-sought “grand bargain,” would require three-fifths of lawmakers to vote “yes” for any bill to pass.

Illinois long ago broke the record for the state to go the longest without an annual spending plan, and lawmakers say they recognize they need to pass a plan pronto, so will it happen?

Legislation to Expand Gambling in Illinois Advances

Legislation that would expand gambling in Illinois and includes a provision for racetracks to operate slot machines passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bill 7 was passed on a 33-24 vote, marking the second time this spring that senators have approved gambling-expansion legislation. The earlier bill was tied directly to several other important pieces of legislation in what was being called a “grand bargain” designed to produce a long-awaited budget from a gridlocked state government, but SB7 has no such explicit links.

Illinois Senate Approves Right to Know Online Privacy Bill

The state Senate on Thursday approved the groundbreaking Right to Know Act, a measure that would require online companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon to disclose to consumers what data about them has been collected and shared with third parties.The bill, sponsored by Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, now heads to the Illinois House after passing on a 31-21 vote.