Should State Employees Get Paid When There's No Budget? Illinois Supreme Court Won't Decide.

by | March 21, 2017 AT 12:25 PM

By Doug Finke

The Illinois Supreme Court will not immediately decide whether state employees can continue to be paid without a state budget in place.

The court on Monday denied a request by Attorney General Lisa Madigan to directly take up the case and bypass taking it to a state appeals court first.

Madigan's office did not have an immediate comment on the ruling. 38,000 state workers, also opposed Madigan's motion.

The union issued a statement after the ruling saying that it believes "the standard appeals process should be followed."

"In the absence of a budget, the order ensuring state workers are paid is only a temporary measure could delay indefinitely a final resolution of the case.

The Supreme Court did not elaborate on why it denied Madigan's request.

In asking the Supreme Court to take up the case, the Democratic attorney general said that the St. Clair ruling has allowed Rauner, a Republican, and the General Assembly to avoid passing a permanent budget because state operations have continued to function. At the same time, she said, the lack of a budget has caused "serious and collateral damage" to higher education, social services, state vendors and others who haven't received state payments during the budget stalemate.

Rauner accused Madigan of trying to force a government shutdown that would in turn trigger a tax  hike. Rauner said she was acting in collusion with her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza to force a shutdown.

Lisa Madigan's office said Rauner was trying to blame anyone but himself for the state's problems.

Rauner also called on the General Assembly to pass a House bill that would allow state workers to be paid without a budget. He wants a Republican-sponsored bill that will pay workers in perpetuity. Democrats are behind a House bill that would only pay workers until June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Neither bill has come up for a vote in the House.

(c)2017 The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.