Budget Plan Said To Lead To Layoffs, Payment Delays

May 27, 2014

Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, presents budget legislation Tuesday in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Credit Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a spending plan for state government.

This is not an extension of Illinois' 5 percent income tax rate. It's also not the doomsday budget Gov. Pat Quinn and other Democrats warned would result without that permanently higher tax rate. Rather, it holds spending essentially flat across state government. But that doesn't mean Illinois' financial problems are solved.

One of the ways state government will hobble through next year is by increasingly delaying payments to vendors, like nursing homes. Illinois has slowly been digging itself out of a multi-year backlog of such bills. Rep. Greg Harris, a Democrat from Chicago, says that situation is likely to get worse.

"People are going to continue to come in the door," Harris says. "People will not stop being disabled. People will not stop getting elderly simply because we don't have the ability to raise the revenue to pay for it."

Harris also says increased costs mean state agencies could be forced into layoffs — he says that could be "thousands" of employees.