Judge Rules Illinois Workers Should Get Paid During Budget Impasse

Feb 16, 2017

A St. Clair County judge Thursday denied Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s attempt to freeze state-worker paychecks without a real state budget.

The budget impasse means the Illinois legislature has not directly approved money to pay state employees since summer 20-15. But a judge’s order has kept the money flowing — and state government from grinding to a halt.

Madigan says that violates the Illinois Constitution, which gives the legislature the power to direct state spending. She also says it removes a key pressure point meant to force Gov. Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly to agree on a full budget. That's something they haven’t been able to do since Rauner took office two years ago.

But a St. Clair County judge disagrees, ruling that state employee paychecks should continue.  That puts him on the side of both the Rauner administration and the AFSCME union, which represents tens of thousands of state workers.

The attorney general’s office says it will appeal.