Illinois House passes bill to release revenue to local governments during budget impasse


Daily file photo by Paige Leskin

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks after defeating Pat Quinn in the gubernatorial election last year. Rauner reversed his position Tuesday on legislation that would release certain funds to local governments during the Illinois budget impasse.

Julia Jacobs, City Editor

Illinois Budget Crisis

The Illinois House of Representatives voted Tuesday to release funds including motor fuel tax revenue and lottery winnings to local governments such as Evanston that have been missing the contributions since the state started a new fiscal year in July without a budget.

The same day the House passed the bill, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced his newfound approval of the legislation Tuesday in a memo to lawmakers. The governor’s memo, which voiced an ideological reversal on the issue, included a further suggestion that the state add money to local governments for purchases such as road salt considering the coming winter season.

The Senate would still need to approve the bill before it heads to the governor.

Evanston aldermen voted Monday to pass a resolution urging state leaders to take action to release funds similar to those included in the bill that passed the House, including revenue from video gambling and funding for emergency service centers.

The state has been withholding motor fuel tax revenue payments from communities such as Evanston since July 1. The missing funds — which would be restored to local government if this legislation is enacted — have led Evanston officials to question where some funding for city staff would come from if a state budget was not passed by January.

Rauner also reached an agreement with business groups and labor organizations Monday to a new framework on unemployment insurance. Rauner also announced changes state-funded child care, increasing eligibility from an emergency rule instituted at the beginning of July.

Although Rauner applauded legislators for the compromises made in Tuesday’s session, he noted that larger issues still need attention. The governor highlighted reforms such as term limits, property tax relief and a balanced budget that require consideration.

“We still need major structural and economic reforms,” Rauner said in a news release. “I know that not all of these are easy, but I’m confident we can accomplish a tremendous amount if everyone is willing to work together.”

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