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Rauner: State Workers Different Than Human Service Employees

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Gov. Bruce Rauner has gone to court to make sure state workers get paid during the budget impasse. But he's not taken such steps to ensure pay for employees of state human service contractors.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has supported a lawsuit to keep state workers getting paid. But he’s refused to extend that support to a similar case brought by human service contractors.

The governor was recently asked to answer this question: Why treat state employees as superior to employees of human service providers?

RAUNER: "Inside government, those folks are working every day, and they should be paid. They should have a continuing appropriation.”

MACKEY: “But human service workers are working every day, too.”

RAUNER: “It’s different. Inside government versus outside. There’s a lot of folks who work outside government.”

DURBIN: “Well, from my perspective, work is work.”

Andrea Durbin is head of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth, one of the 97 organizations suing to get paid.

DURBIN: “We have contracts that outline each sides’ responsibilities, no different from the agreement that the state workers have with the state.”

In a document filed Friday afternoon with the state Appellate Court, Durbin's "Pay Now Illinois” coalition criticizes Rauner for signing contracts, but using his veto power to block money to pay for them.

DURBIN: “We’ve been hearing lately how Illinois needs to be a business-friendly state. This is not just our services that are at stake, it's the reputation of our state. And if the state cannot honor its contracts, who will want to do business here?”

The court filing alleges Rauner is using coalition members to essentially “loan” services to Illinois — just so he can keep government afloat while continuing a “feud” with the General Assembly.

While waiting for its appeal in Chicago, the coalition is also pursuing a separate legal challenge in St. Clair County.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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