Court Employees Laid Off Because of Illinois’ Budget Shortfall | NBC Chicago
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Court Employees Laid Off Because of Illinois’ Budget Shortfall

“I won’t sugar coat it, I’ve had to lay off several people today,” Will County Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt said

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    Funds are drying up for essential services like court systems, prison salaries and the state’s child care assistance program, causing major cutbacks. NBC Chicago's Charlie Wojciechowski reports. (Published Friday, March 13, 2015)

    They can type 225 words a minute, but that might not be able to save some court reporters, who may be the next victims of Illinois’ $1.6 billion dollar budget shortfall – and in Will County, the cuts are already being made.

    “I won’t sugar coat it, I’ve had to lay off several people today,” Will County Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt told NBC Chicago. “Which is a shame, because they do really good work. It’s important work, work that must be done. People rely on that income and now I’ve have had to lay them off.”

    But Governor Bruce Rauner insists his newly-laid out budget is not to blame.

    “I didn’t create this mess,” Gov. Rauner said. “I didn’t create this budget, but i will fix it. Give me the authorization to reallocate the money and I will do it.”

    While touring a metal fabricating plant Friday in Blue Island, Rauner said he is frustrated by how slowly Springfield is moving to address the deficit.

    “I went to the legislature and said we better reallocate immediately money from non-essential buckets into essential buckets like court reporting and day care,” Rauner said. “The legislature agreed with me but the process has taken five or six weeks.”

    In that time funds are drying up for essential services like court systems, prison salaries and the state’s child care assistance program – which was underfunded by as much as $300 million. The governor says hard decisions have to be made and he is encouraging the legislature to make them.

    “What I’m saying is, ‘Guys, let’s get it done,’” Rauner said. “If we sat in a room, we would have had it done in a few days. But I think they are close, they are in their caucuses arguing it through, and I am pushing them to get it done as fast as they can.”

    Unfortunately, that won't be soon enough in Will County.

    “[They] need to get going on this because the situation is absolutely at a crisis stage,” Judge Schoenstedt said.

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