Illinois is about to enter a third fiscal year Saturday without a state budget. The lack of a budget is driving up debt and costs Illinoisans more as our credit ratings drop, but it also hurts citizens who lose access to services, jobs and more. Social service providers already have cut jobs, as have many colleges and universities. Road construction projects could shut down soon, too.
As of June 27, Illinois’ bill backlog was $14.72 billion. That’s $14.72 billion IOUs owed to Illinoisans and others. The fact that Illinois is not paying people who provide it services means numerous social service organizations have shut down, and countless others are on financial life support. These organizations help Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, including survivors of domestic abuse and violence, those who suffer from drug addiction, those who need mental health care. If things don’t change soon everyone will feel the sting, after the state halts 700 ongoing construction projects, triggering the loss of an estimated 25,000 jobs.
State higher education communities also have suffered tremendously, with staff layoffs and early closings. Monetary Award Program grant funding, financial aid given to middle and lower-income Illinoisans for college costs, has not been fully funded, causing enrollments to drop. If no budget is passed, K-12 schools might not be able to stay open all year.
Newspaper editorial boards around the state have said enough is enough. What follows is a look at the history of the budget impasse and the damage caused by our elected officials’ inability to reach a compromise and approve a budget:
Reboot Illinois June 21st, 2016: Map: From Chicagoland to downstate, the Illinois budget battle is causing damage across the state.
Reboot Illinois June 5th, 2017: List: Costs and consequences of Illinois budget crisis