Published On: Tue, Jul 7th, 2015

Judge rules that Illinois budget crisis will result in state employees not being paid

While Illinois’ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner battles Democrats, who control the Legislature, to approve a budget, the state may not continue to pay state workers in full, according a Cook County ruling today.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan requested a legal review during the budget crisis and Judge Diane Joan Larsen said Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger may pay only some workers who are covered under a federal law. Those workers would only receive federal minimum wage plus overtime.

Munger’s attorneys claim that identifying these employees properly could take as long as a year, which effectively means no workers will be paid until Rauner and legislature approve a budget, the comptroller’s attorneys said.

Munger said Tuesday she will appeal the ruling.

“I am disappointed and respectfully disagree with today’s ruling,” Munger said in a statement. “We went to Court to ensure my office can comply with federal law and compensate employees for services they are already providing to the state.”

“My office will soon file an appeal to today’s decision and will provide further information as it becomes available,” Munger’s statement concluded.

Update on Illinois budget crisis photo/ TaxRebate.org.uk

Update on Illinois budget crisis photo/ TaxRebate.org.uk

Rauner, a conservative businessman seeking reforms in Illinois, vetoed a spending plan passed by the Legislature that fell far short of available revenues, leaving the budget in the red.

Union reps spoke out, predicting problems for seniors and the disabled due to interrupted services.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois Vice President James Muhammed responded to the ruling, saying: “A principle outcome of today’s ruling in Cook County is that it further puts at risk critical services for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities throughout Illinois. The ruling highlights the need for Gov. Rauner to stop his political posturing, negotiate in good faith and come to the table with solutions to a budget crisis he looks to have courted.

“Vulnerable Illinoisans already are being harmed by Gov. Rauner’s days of crisis that have done nothing to solve our long-term problems but have done everything to avoid meeting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable.”

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 executive director Roberta Lynch issued a statement in response to the ruling, saying:

“Public service workers in state government are on the job despite the lack of a state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. Throughout Illinois they are keeping their communities safe, protecting kids, caring for veterans and people with disabilities, and providing countless other vital public services – and they should be paid for their work on time and in full. We are disappointed by the Cook County judge’s decision to the contrary, and we intend to appeal it.”

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton are seeking increases in revenue to ensure the government continues to provide social services and other key operations, but viable solutions to the deficit have not been agreed upon.

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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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