The Daily Parker

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Why is the Illinois Attorney General trying not to pay state employees?

Because that's really the only way we can fix the budget impasse caused by the Governor—and he knows it:

As you probably know, the state hasn't had a “real” budget in a couple of years. A budget is basically just a collection of appropriations. The last legal appropriation for state employee payroll expired on June 30, 2015. Negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders stalled and shortly thereafter a judge in St. Clair County ordered the state to pay its workers anyway. Everybody back then figured this would probably be a temporary situation, so nobody squawked too much. It's been done before for a few weeks. No big deal.

Except, as we are all painfully aware, the governmental stalemate has continued for over 20 months. In January, Attorney General Madigan got tired of waiting for the governor and the General Assembly to cut a deal and filed a legal motion in St. Clair County to vacate that 2015 order. She lost. We're not sure exactly why because the judge didn't issue a formal opinion, but the governor's office was at that hearing and filed a brief opposing AG Madigan's motion.


The governor doesn't want AG Madigan to win because his bargaining position will be greatly weakened if the courts effectively shut down the state by ruling that money can't be spent without appropriations. Rauner is demanding some business-related reforms, a property tax freeze and a few other things before he'll agree to a tax hike to balance the state's infamously out of whack budget. So, the man who once bragged that he would use the crisis of the state not having a budget to force through his preferred legislative changes now wants to avoid a much worse crisis that would compel him to abandon his demands in order to prevent the catastrophe of an actual government shutdown.

Got all that?

Meanwhile, Governor Rauner's approval ratings have hit historical lows. Go figure.

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