Budget Battles Hurting the People of Illinois

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BLOOMINGOTN – The amount of money Illinois owes in back payments equals more than 14 billion dollars. The state’s bill backlog has nearly tripled in the past two years. Legislators say they are working on a fix, but don’t have a timetable to keep them on track.

Bloomington Resident James Schartzer told us, “Makes me mad really to tell you the truth, because we haven’t come to an agreement on the budget.”

It’s been 2 years since Illinois had a state budget. Whether it’s indifference, indecision, or inability… Voters are blaming the legislature and the governor’s office for Illinois’ worsening finances.

Brian Kieth explained, “You have the Republicans on one side, the Democrats on the other side. Theoretically, they’er supposed to hash it out and each takes the other’s points and then they come to a conclusion. They can’t come to a conclusion… Simple.”

Courtney Henderson added, “It doesn’t affect them. What about the other people who don’t get a bonus every week or every month you know and they have to work hard to get to work. They have to buy a bus pass to get to work. What is going to happen when they don’t have that availability? The homeless rate is going to go up and unemployment rate is going to go up and it is just going to be a downfall for the economy all together.”

Caught in the middle are the state’s neediest citizens, struggling public universities, and state vendors who are owed more than $14 billion in unpaid bills to date.

Kieth again, “Everybody has to budget. I have to budget my bills every month.”

Henderson added, “It’s gonna effect everybody eventually, it’s just going to be a matter of time before they realize it. Sometimes it might be too late.”

Both parties passed the stop gap budget last summer and promised something would be done after November’s election. Now people are putting their faith in the “Grand Bargain,” hoping something comes fruition before the cost becomes too great.

James Schartzer says, “It’s going to take getting along with each other. They’ve got to sit down and discuss things and get things right.”

According to the people we talked tt… If the states’ budget mess continues until the next election 2 years away, that would just be more politics at the expense of Illinois’ taxpayers.

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