The Illinois budget impasse is now in its sixth month, and it appears the end is not yet near.
In early November, Gov. Bruce Rauner predicted the impasse would end sometime in January, explaining that after Jan. 1 he would only need a majority instead of a super majority to pass the budget. In a recent speech, however, Rauner estimated the impasse would end between January and April, meaning it could be several more months until Illinois has a budget.
NPR's Tony Arnold reports that Rauner told a crowd at a manufacturers lunch in Chicago last week that "persistence" is key.
"It looks now most likely January to April. K?" Rauner said, according to Arnold. "Persistence. Persistence. Stay strong."
Rauner and the top state lawmakers met last week to discuss the budget together for the first time since May, but the meeting yielded little progress. House Speaker Mike Madigan preached a message of renewed commitment in working with the governor and other Republican leaders, but he said he would not tolerate any extremes. Rauner responded by claiming none of his ideas were extreme.
Several social service organizations across the state are among the most obvious victims of the ongoing budget stalemate. Many of them have cut back costs significantly, and some have even shut down as funds ran dry.
In addition, state officials have indicated that funds will run out in the New Year, and the Chicago Teachers Union has threatened a strike next semester without financial help from Springfield.