1/27/2017 1:24:00 PM AG Madigan files to stop workers' pay
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion to stop the payment of state workers’ salaries until legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner approve a spending plan to end a more than 18-month budget stalemate.
The motion filed Thursday asks the St. Clair County Circuit Court to dissolve by Feb. 28 a preliminary injunction that allows for state workers to be paid during the budget impasse.
Gov. Bruce Rauner said today he hopes Madigan isn’t attempting “a crisis to force a shutdown of the government” and an “unbalanced” short-term budget. He wants the Democratic attorney general to reconsider.
Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature have been unable to negotiate a budget for two years straight. Rauner has held up as his main opponent Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago — the attorney general’s father.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall said the union was “shocked and extremely disappointed” by the filing.
“Despite all the chaos in state government in the past two years, the people of Illinois have been able to count on state employees being on the job to serve them,” Lindall said. “The last thing Illinois needs is the further instability that blocking state payroll could cause.”
Madigan noted that unpaid vendors and grantees who continue to provide services for Illinois are bearing the brunt of “this egregious and untenable budget impasse.”
Illinois has been without a budget since July 1, 2015 — the longest any state has gone with no spending plan since at least since World War II.
Republican leaders united in anger at Madigan’s move.
“This filing seeks to directly harm thousands of employee families and even more who rely on our dedicated state workers every day,” Rauner’s spokeswoman, Catherine Kelly, said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti accused Madigan of “attempting to disrupt” the bipartisan progress made toward balancing the budget.
Senators failed to vote Thursday on a compromise to end a historic budget deadlock. The plan by Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Republican leader Christine Radogno would have raised income tax and created a service tax to beat down the deficit. It also included cost-saving measures to the workers’ compensation program and a property-tax freeze sought by Rauner, pension- and school-funding overhauls, expanded casino gambling and more.
“Only a Madigan would try to disrupt bipartisan momentum in a matter that threatens to cripple government services and hurt state workers and their families,” Republican Party spokesman Steven Yaffe said in a statement. “Comptroller (Susana) Mendoza and every Democrat in the state who claims to be independent of the ‘Madigan Machine’ should immediately denounce these tactics and stand on the side of state employees and those who depend on them.”
Mendoza blames Rauner for the budget impasse, saying state workers wouldn’t face a threat of no pay if he had proposed a balanced budget in 2015 or 2016.