Illinois State Workers' Pay and Dental Insurance Face Challenges

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has filed a lawsuit over the way Illinois' comptroller is handling employee pay.

The lawsuit filed Monday in St. Clair County Circuit Court says Democratic Comptroller Suzanna Mendoza is violating a 2015 court order.

The lawsuit contends the paychecks of 587 Central Management Services employees could be disrupted if the matter is not resolved by Wednesday.

A two-year budget stalemate between Rauner and legislative Democrats has not affected employee pay because the July 2015 order says workers have a contract to be paid even if there's no money appropriated in a budget.

Mendoza's office told Rauner's that pay for CMS workers should come from a maintenance account that has money in it. Rauner says that money is needed for vehicle repair.

Meanwhile, Illinois dentists want the option to void state workers' dental plans.

New legislation aims to do just that. If dentists could opt out of state worker insurance, those patients would have to pay for all dental work out of pocket - and wait themselves for the state to pay them back.

Dr. Elizabeth Knoedler is a dentist in Springfield. She says if it's allowed, most state workers won't be able make regular visits anymore.
"Not everybody has that kind of money laying around to be able to do that. That's why they're still paying for their dental insurance."
Dentists are part of the long list of businesses, health care providers, and nonprofits that are waiting to be paid for work done as far as back as 20-15.

If Illinois continues to operate without a full budget, the pile of unpaid bills is projected to reach $14 billion by summer.