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Illinois Awash in Red Ink as Budget Deal Buys It Six More Months

  • Six-month spending plan jeopardizes funding as 2017 begins
  • With no new revenue, there’s no fix for deficit, pensions

In Illinois, roadwork won’t grind to a halt, prisons won’t run out of food and schools will reopen on time. But the six-month stopgap budget that averts a government shutdown is only digging the state deeper into the hole.

With no agreement between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-led legislature over how to raise revenue, the state is on track to spend $5.5 billion more than it brings in by the end of June, according to initial estimates from the Civic Federation, a watchdog group. And the appropriations make no dent in the $111 billion debt to the state’s pensions, one of the biggest drags on Illinois, whose credit rating has fallen lower than any U.S. state in over a decade.