First Maine, then Connecticut, and finally late on Friday, confirming the worst case outcome many had expected, Illinois entered its third straight fiscal year without a budget as Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers failed to agree on how to compromise over the government’s chronic deficits, pushing it closer toward becoming the first junk-rated U.S. state.
By the end of Friday - the last day of the fiscal year - Illinois legislators failed to enact a budget, and while negotiations continued amid some glimmers of hope and lawmakers planned to meet over the weekend, the failure marked a continuation of the historic impasse that’s left Illinois without a full-year budget since mid-2015, and which, recall, S&P warned one month ago will likely result in a humiliating and unprecedented downgrade of the 5th most populous US state to junk status.
Then came the begging.
According to Bloomberg, on Friday Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat who controls much of the legislative agenda, pleaded with rating companies to "temporarily withhold judgment” as lawmakers negotiate. “Much work remains to be done,” the Democrat said on the floor of the House Friday, before the chamber adjourned for the day. “We’ll get the job done.”
Meanwhile, the state remains without a spending plan, its tax receipts and outlays mostly on "autopilot", leaving it with a record $15 billion of unpaid bills as it spent over $6 billion more than it brought in over the past year, and with $800 million in interest on the unpaid bills alone. The impasse has devastated social-service providers, shuttering services for the homeless, disabled and poor.
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