As the state budget impasse drags on into its tenth month, Illinois Republicans are looking to partially pay for social services via state funds that have been designated for pet projects.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin have proposed a bill that would funnel some $1.3 billion to programs that benefit seniors and those seeking affordable housing, mental health services and drug addiction treatment as well as anti-recidivism programs for small-time criminals. About $860 million would come from already-allocated special interest funds, which cannot be used without a budget in place, and another $434 million would come out of the general fund.
The spending plan, however, is incumbent on the passage of previously proposed pension reform measures, including one that would put the costs of substantial late-career pay hikes and salaries of over $180,000 on school districts and universities. Radogno has also requested that Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) attach his pension reform measures to the bill, omitting any that may not pass constitutional muster.
Check back with Progress Illinois for more on this developing story.