Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a judge to tell state employees: No budget, no paycheck.
She’s trying to force an end to the political battle that's devastated Illinois finances over the last 19 months.
Polling says most Illinoisans do not think they’re affected by the lack of a state budget. That could all change if a St. Clair County judge accepts Lisa Madigan's legal arguments.
She says a court order requiring state employee paychecks is letting legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner off the hook. After all, it's their constitutional duty to enact a balanced budget.
If Madigan prevails, the question would then be whether it's enough to force Rauner and Democrats to cut a deal.
Governor Rauner disagrees with the move.
"I hope this is not a direct attempt to cause a crisis to force a shutdown of the government to force another stopgap spending plan as a step to force a tax hike without any changes to our broken system."
Rauner fears the suit will derail ongoing negotiations over the proposed "grand bargain."
"Let's not block the great work that the Senate is doing to come up with a compromise and a truly balanced budget, which is what we need, along with the changes to the system so we can grow our economy and create more jobs. Please do not take steps to disrupt the Senate's work."
Senate President John Cullerton told his members they should be prepared to vote on the so-called "grand bargain" when they return to Springfield the week of February 7th.