The State of Illinois Fails to Adopt a Budget, Again
For the second year in a row, the Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Illinois General Assembly have failed to approve a state budget. The final day of the Spring legislative session ended with both political parties suggesting budget alternatives unacceptable to the other, and arguing that voters should punish the other party in this Fall's election. While the Illinois General Assembly is expected to meet periodically in June, there is little hope of a quick or comprehensive resolution to the budget stalemate.
Illinois public libraries, library systems, and school libraries received partial funding for fiscal year 2016 grants through the Illinois Secretary of State's office. As a result of the impasse, it is not likely that public libraries, systems or school libraries will receive any additional 2016 grant funds above those previously appropriated. At this point, no fiscal 2017 grant funds have been approved. While it is possible that partial grant funding will be appropriated for fiscal 2017 similar to fiscal 2016, even that is uncertain.
The situation for higher education is even more desperate. The failure to fund community colleges, state colleges and universities, and the failure to fund student MAP grants, puts higher education in serious jeopardy across Illinois. Despite universal political support for additional K-12 funding, no funding for fiscal 2017 has been appropriated. As of today, there is no guarantee Illinois public schools will open this Fall.
ILA will continue to advocate for library, system, school district and higher education funding. It is impossible, however, to predict how or when the budget deadlock will be broken.