Gov. Bruce Rauner's November election victory landed his party a summer prize Illinois Republicans haven't had in dozen years --- the pride of having Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. But Rauner's day of political revelry Wednesday ended with a stinging defeat.
As Illinois' budget stalemate continues, the state's top political leaders have been focusing on a relatively small number: $250,000. That's roughly how much Illinois is set to spend this year on pay raises for legislators.
Supporters of the Illinois State Museum spent hours Monday fighting for its future. Governor Bruce Rauner has recommended closing the museum and its collections center as well as Dickson Mounds and satellite sites.
Illinois legislators will return to Springfield Tuesday, leaving them one last day to get a budget deal in order. This year's spending plan expires at midnight on June 30. Not only is there no long-term agreement, there's no sign of a provisional one either.
Even if Illinois lawmakers and the governor can't reach a budget deal by Wednesday, state employees have another two weeks before they really need to worry about being paid. That's when their first paychecks of the new fiscal year are set to be issued. But there's confusion over whether they'll get money after that point, or not.
An email sent by Gov. Rauner takes a reassuring tone.
"State employees will be paid for their work --- and I will do everything within my power to ensure you don’t miss a single payroll," he writes.
Tuesday is "deadline day" for state government. But one deadline is being given a month-long extension.
June 30th is the final day of the fiscal year; after which, the current budget expires. It's also the final day of the state's contract with its largest public employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.